Fears for Next Year – EdTech 537

I am starting a new job next year at my district’s Jr. High and I am starting to get a little nervous. Jr. High is a new beast and I am not sure what to expect. The following things are what I am most nervous for:

Classroom

I have not been allowed to get into my classroom to work on getting it all set up yet. I will be given my key and let in on Monday the 14th, but I have A LOT to do! I need to paint and clean and set up my teacher are and my comfy corner. I need to figure out my desk arrangement and how I can get charging stations throughout my room so I can accommodate for my student’s computers. I need to print off posters and organize my cupboards. I have so much I need to do in not that long of time!

Planning

A new school also brings new plans for the school year. I have printed off my standards and item specks for my subjects and organized them in my binder, but that is it. I am planning on sitting down with my new department head and working on a scope and sequence for my year, but I am nervous about creating my own timeline. At my old school we did it all as a team and this school works a little more independently. I want to at least have my first month planned out before school starts.

Students

People keep telling me how difficult Jr. High students can be. I am really good at working with 12 and 13 year olds, but I don’t have a ton of experience with angsty 14 and 15 year olds. I don’t think my classroom management plans will be that different compared to when I was teaching at the middle school, but I do think there will be different things that I have to worry about. I hope it is a smooth transition for both the students and myself.

Grad School

I am really nervous to be taking two classes in the fall while transitioning to a new school. I will also be coaching in the fall so I am will be insanely busy. I am anxious about juggling grad school, planning, coaching, and I am moving into an apartment in September. I have a ton on my plate and I hoping that I don’t let my grades slide  or my teaching slide. I am going to have to really focus on my weekends so I don’t miss anything.

14 thoughts on “Fears for Next Year – EdTech 537

  1. Kerri Patton says:

    You sound like you have a ton on your plate! What classes are you taking? My motto last semester (with two MET classes too) was “it can’t hurt for long, right?”

    Also, I think people give jr. high a bad rap. I realize teachers who’ve only taught high school might crinkle their noses at the thought of teaching the youngins, but there are great things about every level. I officially started in the U.S. with 7th and 8th graders, and found them to be quite fun. I miss the energy, the giggles (they are still quite little), and the willingness to have fun. Not that I don’t get that in my 9-12th graders, but it’s not as prevalent, and there tends to be more skepticism on the whole. I can say that if you are able to achieve some level of class bonding, it helps a TON! The 8th graders I had in my first year were awesome because of that. My 7th graders….well, one class was fine, and the other not so much. And even though I teach high school now, I still have to work on the bonding in lower-level, “younger” classes (the oldies have been with me a few years), which makes me anxious every year. I think I might try something like this for my youngest crews in a few weeks (who are, incidentally, also 15ish years old): http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2012/06/27/tln_merz.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-FB

    As far as your classroom goes, you have to/get to paint your own room? That seems really cool (and daunting to me, since the possibilities are endless – it’s like choosing just ONE pair of shoes to buy at the store). A coworker of mine in biology had her AP students paint one wall of her room (the columns in between the windows), and what they designed is beautiful – a field of wildflowers growing in tall grass with a blue sky. It makes me want to do the same!

    I’m also curious as to your planning. Hopefully, there’ll be a set curriculum or outline the department uses and your colleagues/dept. head will be amenable to sharing – you’d think there’d have to be if you’re teaching a core area that must align with state standards and the common core. When in doubt, if you’re on Facebook, check for groups specific to your subject area. I have been rescued and inspired continually from the German-teaching groups I’m part of on that social media platform, and a colleague of mine in American SIgn Language has finally found a place to get new ideas (she has had NO ONE for years and years to collaborate with). Pinterest helps me out a lot too.

    Also in relation to planning, what are item specs? I’ve not heard of that term before.

    I think that the mere fact that you’re already gearing up and “worrying” is a sign that you care and will do a great job. There will be challenges, but one can’t enjoy the peaks without the valleys, I suppose. Good luck!

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    • rwaldmanblog says:

      I am taking an evaluation class and I think YouTube for teachers, but I am not 100% sure! I have heard similar things about the Jr High age, that they are still really fun and excited to try new things. I am really excited to be with the new age group, but like you said, it comes with some anxiety.I do get to paint my room! We have to pay for it and do the labor, but we are allowed to do pretty much anything we want to the room. I love that we have so much freedom to express ourselves in our classes. It helps because I feel like I spend more time in my class than I do at home! We do have a curriculum, but we don’t follow it much. It isn’t common core aligned so I will need to supplement it a ton in order to get all the stuff in we need to accomplish. We are hopefully adopting something soon though so we are excited! As for item specks, my students take the SBA test at the end of the year and they release what they call “Item Specs” which is a bunch of released items that match up to specific standards. It is helpful since some of the standards can be vague so I can see exactly what it is that they need to do. I also through a couple of them on my summative assessments since it is similar question style to the SBA test. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. ryanbcolley says:

    Ryann,

    You certainly have a lot on your agenda this fall so let me try to put your mind at ease with one of your fears! I taught 8th grade for three years and I’m going into my second year of teaching 9th grade. 13-15 year olds can be a little rambunxious, but I have found that if you are calm, confident, and showing respect you will quickly build positive relationships with your students. You will undoubtedly have a few students who “require more attention” (aka get on your nerves). If you are consistent with your expectations and don’t play favorites you will build respect in no time with kids that age…they honestly just want to be treated like adults. Stay firm and fair with them and you’ll do fine. Good luck!

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    • rwaldmanblog says:

      I have also found that with the older grade, they respond best when you give them respect. I think a lot of teachers try to get students to obey by fear, but they would much rather be in a class where they are shown respect. I am really excited to be with the older grade, I just hope I can role with all the changes emotionally they are going through during that time in life. It is going to be a blast, but a big change from the 6th graders! Thanks for the tips!

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  3. Kaitlin Morgan says:

    Oh my! It sounds like you are going to have a very busy year. Based on your post, it sounds like you have already taken steps in the right direction for figuring out your game plan. With everything you have going on, my biggest suggestion would be to not to forget to take care of yourself. I tend to neglect myself when I’m stressed, which then adds even more stress. Don’t forget to make time to sleep, eat, and do things that you enjoy!

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    • rwaldmanblog says:

      I am that way as well and I am going to really have to focus on doing some things for me to make sure I don’t go crazy! It is going to be a lot of work, but I am really excited to get everything started!

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  4. @naomi_jaynes says:

    I agree with Kerri, Ryann. You have quite a bit to manage in the semester ahead. I highly recommend reading Dave Stuart Jr.’s blog as he has quite a few tips on efficient grading practices, time management, and focus. However, a new school, new decor possibilities, learning new strategies in BSU classes, and a new apartment sounds like a pretty amazing adventure ahead. Thanks for sharing!

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    • rwaldmanblog says:

      Thank you for the suggestion for the blog! I am going to need some help keeping everything straight this fall. I am really excited for everything to get started! Until then I will just be working on getting everything set up.

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  5. kristingaynor says:

    You definitely have a full plate to work with this semester! I moved schools last year, it definitely feels overwhelming to “start over” again. One tip I have is involve your students in decorating your room- leave some things to organize for the first days of school and have the students participate in creating their learning environment. I think it gives them a sense of comfort! Your semester will FLY by with all these new changes! Remember to take care of yourself, being busy can make me forget to do things for me sometimes! Thank you for sharing!

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    • rwaldmanblog says:

      I am feeling slightly overwhelmed, but I think everything is going to be super fun and great! I think I am going to leave a wall for my students to decorate with their work and pictures. They really like to draw me pictures and I want a place for them to hang it up. Thank you for reminding me to take time to take care of myself. It is always yourself that you neglect the most when you get busy!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Brittni Darrington says:

    Wow! You have a busy semester ahead, but you’ve got it! It sounds like you are an amazing teacher. I have really enjoyed reading your blog throughout the semester, and I have full faith and confidence in you that you will do great! Good luck with everything!

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  7. tecchick says:

    Ryann, you are ambitious, girl! I really appreciate your honesty and transparency. Because it is in our nature to offer suggestions when we hear someone voice their concerns, you’ve received some great advice and encouragement in your blog comments! I wanted to echo the point Kristin made, don’t forget to take care of yourself. If you can create time to relax and do the things you love from time to time, you’ll avoid mental and physical burnout. Good luck with a new school year and many changes coming your way!

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