# Counting Down

Less than 12 hours until my first day of school as a teacher starts. Holy shit.

I’ve been so busy with getting ready for tomorrow that I’ve not been updating nearly as much as I wanted to. So here are some updates:

1.  My Unit 1 Map is finally done!

Well. Sort of. It’s done as in I’ve written out a very rough outline for where I want the 20+ lessons to go. I’m completely positive that I’m going to have to completely revamp the damn thing about a week in, but at least I have something to revamp. It’s really difficult when a lot of my first unit feels so…intangible. As I interpret the Common Core, I’m basically supposed to get kids comfortable with messing around with Math on their own. My first unit is just using what they should already know about Algebra and increasing their fluency and comfort with the procedures. The most important part seems to be getting them to explain, both in writing and verbally, their thinking and their steps.  I’m spending two days on that the first week, before we even get to any of the other standards. Then I’m spending a whole day just discussing what a variable is. Which I worry is crazy. But variables are such a vital part of Algebra that I want to make sure when I say variable, they know what I mean. I’ve gotten far too many crazy responses from the summer assignment for me to be confident that we all have the same understanding, and if we don’t have variables down what the hell are we going to do the rest of the year? So Frayer Box to the rescue.  Then it’s a lot of “Create an expression/equation from a pattern and explain why you did it.”

2. In addition to teaching Algebra 1, I’m also teaching literacy, advisory, and apparently I’m assisting in gym.

There are a lot of great things about working in a new school. I get to set the tone, shape the culture, and decide how math will look moving forward. We also went on home visits and met the students and their parents in their natural habitat, as it were. It was so cool and I think it will be so valuable.

But then there are the frustrating things, like an extra two weeks of PD my friends didn’t have but that were necessary to set up school expectations. And the fact that I have to wear six different hats all at once. In addition to those classes, I also “volunteered” to be a UFT delegate and was flat-out conscripted to be a track coach. Oh, and I’m running the Gay-Straight Alliance at school (if such a thing exists). My only response is to take a swig of my beer and soldier on.

3. My classroom is decorated!

With the help of a very nice woman named Verna, I have bulletin boards! It’s not 100% what I want but it’s a great start and I’m confident I’ll have time to beef it up this week.

Those are probably the biggies. I’ve been running around crazy like. And tomorrow we go. I’m trying desperately not to psych myself out too much. At this point what’s done is done, so I can just sort of ride the wave. I’ve got lesson plans and PowerPoints for the first couple days. I had really wanted to be further along than this when I started the summer but the crippling panic of creating a curriculum map slowed me down considerably. I just hope my next five units go a little bit smoother once I know the students a bit better.

I know I’m not going to sleep tonight, despite my best efforts. And I’ll be up an hour before my alarm. And I won’t be able to eat because I’ll be nervous all day. But then it will be over and I’ll grab a happy hour with my coworkers and I’ll come home and plan like a mad-man just so I don’t run out of ideas halfway through Wednesday. And I probably will anyway. But there’s no stopping it now. See you on the flip-side.

And away we go.