Thursday, August 25, 2016

First Day Back (#DITLife Post 2)

And so it begins! In-service day 1 of 2 at Moravian Academy. My day began at 7:15 AM with working on a bulletin board in the math hallway that I had begun to take down the previous day. Although today was the first in-service day, there is not enough time during the in-service days to get ready for the first day with students.  Many teachers at my school come in for a day or two prior to the first official in-service day.  As department chair, I have several items to take care of including administering and scoring placement exams, unpacking books and fixing up the bulletin board with math contest information.
The official schedule for the two in-service days can be seen below.  The times dedicated for teachers working in their classrooms were 3:30 until whenever for Day 1 and 3:00 until 6:00 for Day 2.  I ended up leaving school today at 5 PM and I will need to work for another hour or two tonight to prep for next Monday.  Based on past experience, the probability of me working on school items over the weekend is 100%.  I am guessing I will be working for at least 4 hours this weekend on school items.
Each year we begin our in-service days with a faculty and staff chapel that is designed to make us reflect on the coming school year.  The sense of community across all divisions permeates this yearly tradition.  With a few butterflies in my stomach, I rang A-flat and B-flat handbells as a part of a faculty bell choir this year.  I later learned we would be playing the piece again in front of the 720+ students and faculty at our opening chapel next week!

After chapel, faculty and staff were split groups of about 10 to do a hour long photo scavenger hunt.  The activity helped me to see parts of the lower school and middle school campus that were foreign to me.  Groups built a sense of camaraderie as they worked toward a common goal.

Our first official formal meeting began at 11 AM.  Rather than the multiple reports from various groups, we heard from our new Headmaster, Jeff Zemsky.  (Two hours prior, Jeff had sent faculty and staff the various reports in an email document for us to read on our own.) Jeff encouraged faculty to "employ the best methods to reach all students".  At two different points, he had faculty turn to a partner to share ideas related to pursuing an ambitious goal.  Ultimately, faculty and staff were encouraged to take risks in the coming school year, focusing on the process needed to achieve a goal.

After lunch, we split into divisional faculty groups for a two hour faculty meeting that ended at 3:30 PM.  We spent time in groups creating faculty goals.  One of the goals from my group was "Once a month each faculty member should seek to learn something about teaching from someone outside of his or her department."

One of my personal goals is to encourage faculty to visit my classroom and offer feedback.  Having an open door requires some risk-taking and it will be a bit scary.  However, I felt challenged to take on this goal after reading Robert Kaplinsky's blog and his #observeme challenge.  I have completed the template from his blog and I will be posting it on my classroom door tomorrow.  Stay tuned to future blogs to see what happens.

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