As summer break comes to an end our minds are starting to get motivated to get back to work. The most important task on most of our lists is to get into our rooms and start to get it ready. We should have plenty of time in preschool to get ready, but there is a small chance that something might get in the way of our preparations. If your school experience is anything like mine, that small chance is probably a sure thing.
Today as I began to teach I was told that work crews were replacing all of the fluorescent light ballasts and so I spent the day in several different rooms. We would start in one room and then move to another room while the workers continued their work. When we were not moving we had workers coming in to check breakers and talk about electrical problems. I was glad that my teaching was for fun and not as important as it is during the school year.
My first year of teaching, I had to teach a day while they built a wall. My students seemed a little distracted. Two years later I taught my classroom in the hallway while they replaced carpet.(Why can’t they ever do this during the summer?) I’ve had bull dozers outside my room rattling the room so much that pencils were dancing off of the desks. And this is just the distractions from construction workers.
Think of how many phone calls you get from the office for crazy things like, “Make sure you check your box today.” Duh! Students who come in and out of class for extra work, fundraiser rallies, administrative pep rallies, parents who show up, the list goes on and on. Each of these interruptions may only last a minute, but over the course of a year those minutes add up to a great deal of lost learning.
The expectation in most schools is that good teachers will make up for lost time by coming in early to school, staying late, and take fewer breaks. Although this is wrong thinking, we as teachers often sacrifice for the sake of the students. However, sometimes I have found that for the sake of the students we have to be more vocal and let people know that their interruptions are unacceptable. At other times we simply have to train the students to ignore the distractions and just keep on working.
So as the school year begins, we can all expect some annoying interruptions. I’ll be trying my best to keep the students needs the main priority. If that means better lighting, carpet, walls, etc., then I guess I’ll have to consider being flexible.
(In the comments below, please tell me some of the crazy distractions you have faced.)