I started unpacking my school things into my new room today. I'll actually be setting up two classrooms, which I've never had to do before. I've been a traveling teacher, going to 4 or 5 different schools and carrying my "classroom" with me in my car, though. If I was lucky, I had part of a bookshelf to store some essentials in each building. In this case, I need two full rooms, all set up for 10 - 20 kids. So it's a new experience.
In a strange sort of way, I enjoy unpacking, and seeing what treasures lie in each box. I did label the boxes, but often in cryptic "Random books!" sorts of labels, so it's less helpful than one might hope. And despite all the labeling, I did not find the box with the scissors (handy for opening lots of well-taped boxes) until I had gotten to the bottom of the massive pile.
This time the unpacking is laden with all sorts of mixed emotions. I wasn't supposed to be doing this job this year, and while I'm happy to be doing it, I don't want to do it alone. I've always had at least one team member with me, and now I don't. Furthermore, as a teacher split between two buildings, and only teaching a small fraction of the students within each one, I won't truly be a team member of those buildings, either. Through no fault of anyone there, I'm bound to be viewed as an outsider, and not really part of their staff. It's just the way it is. If I'm lucky, I'll see one of my gifted team mates once a month. So I feel a bit adrift, and already missing my friends. The other feeling is one of, for lack of a better term, futility. This particular teaching position was saved by some last minute maneuvering of the district's administration, and they just revealed that gifted ed is on the chopping block again should the next levy fail. A new levy is on the November ballot. There is already a lot of negativity swirling about it, and I think it's going to be a rough sell. So I hesitate to unpack for just a year.
A lot of my "teacher books" are staying in their boxes entirely, and others are going into opened boxes, lids placed onto their bottoms, tipped onto their sides on the shelf. I have access to them during the year, but when the time comes to move again, I need only put the lids back on top, and we're ready to go.
A few days ago I went to a teachers' conference with a keynote speaker who was adamant about how school needs to be, and needs to change to teach effectively for this century. So many of the things he talked about were things that we do with our gifted students in our non-traditional classroom. I know that this is so good for my students, and I also know that there is a very, very good chance I will not be doing it next year. I'll be prepping kids to answer bubble-in-the-answer questions on standardized tests.
And it makes me sad. And that's no way to start a year, so I'm trying to work myself out of it. But I haven't quite gotten there yet.