Saturday, May 06, 2006
This last term has gone at an amazingly speedy rate. I am feeling the effects of Katrina more than ever. She blew through here when we had been in school four weeks. Anybody who has ever taught early childhood knows that it takes that long to establish routines, individually assess levels, etc. You absolutely cannot have a two week break at the end of August. But that's what happened, and it took at least a couple of weeks to re-establish routines (these children had suffered severe trauma) re-assess levels (severe trauma), and get our bearings again. So at the end of September we were back to where we'd worked so hard to get at the end of August, and I can really tell now just exactly what the cost of it was to this school year. Around the first of April, I began to feel extreme urgency. And guilt, of course. Guilt always accompanies the last term because you look back at all that was left undone, or at least I do. I have a hard time seeing what was accomplished because I am so urgently trying to squeeze every minute out of the last days. This year, the loss of time found me focusing more on literacy and math and leaving a lot of other things undone, such as science/ social studies/health. All those things that are so vital for concept development. I've tried to cram it all in now, and it's been a whirlwind, to say the least. Right now, we've got going: moon journals, life cycles, plants/seeds, Mother's Day projects. Last week, I threw in ice cream making and a mariachi band for Cinco de Mayo.
Carrye wants us to teach a math camp this summer, so I find my mind on that a lot--how to secure a location, get the word out, set up the centers, etc. Then there's writing project stuff on top of it. I talked to Katie last week, and we reminisced about how we used to teach literature camp in my backyard in Petal. There was never a time back then when the two of us didn't have something in the works. She'd come in and say, "I need to make some money", and before she walked back out we'd have something planned. If you know how and aren't afraid of hard work, you can make a thousand dollars working five mornings a week, no problem. We'd plan the greatest learning experiences, going all out, pulling out all the stops. Then, at the end of the week, we'd hit the stores and "invest" our money in household furnishings. One Saturday, at the end of a camp week, we found ourselves at an auction in Hattiesburg. The auctioneer called us "outlaws", but she came away with a nice loveseat and two bird prints, and I got a round table, a sofa for my classroom, three side chairs (one of which I'm sitting in right now), and a painting. Tim and Rob weren't exactly thrilled when we called them to come and get our purchases, but they had to admit we really know how to stretch a dollar.