I don't remember how much I've said here about all the changes in my classroom, but we've got lots going on. First of all, we've gone from a teacher and an ed tech to two teachers. Which is huge, because instead of being responsible for all 24 credits our high school requires for graduation, I'm only responsible for 12. That may not seem like much when you just read it, but trust me when I tell you, 12 is a very manageable number. We also changed locales over the summer. We had been down the street in a building that housed central office and 4 other HS classrooms. Now we're in a stand alone house the district purchased.... a long time ago. It really functions like a portable classroom, except it's not portable. Anyhow, both of us have our own classroom, which is wonderful. Next weekend they're taking a wall out of my room to make it better able to fit a dozen or more adult sized bodies, and at some point (I hope some point soon) they're going to get the basement ready for us to have one big room that will fit all 2 dozen students we share at once. So to translate... our classrooms weren't ready for the first day of school, and if they're ready by the first of October I'm going to be thrilled.
But all that is pretty easy to deal with. The really big deal is that we are now, in effect, employed by 2 different high schools. Another school in our region (I'll spare you from my rant against our state government's budget balancing scheme) does not have an alternative ed program, and the best plan for all (meaning kids, parents, teachers, administrators, and taxpayers) was to bus them up to ours. This was decided last spring, and at face value, it's not that big of a deal. Sunshines are sunshines, no matter what their zip code. But graduation requirements, well, those are definitely different. To say that it has taken me some figuring out is an understatement; I didn't leave work before 4:30 all week. Naturally, this other school reports grades on trimesters, while the first reports quarterly. Quickly doing the math... that's 14 times we'll be reporting progress reports and grades. One school awards credit at the end of each semester, the other at each trimester, which means some of our students need .5 credit of health while others need .67. None of this is insurmountable either, but it would have been helpful to have known before the first day of school workshop.
The good news is we have a plan and have it as figured out as it can get until going through it once. Two logins for the two different schools; everyone's transcripts have been reviewed and assigned to our appropriate classes. We each get a prep period, WHICH IS HUGE. I have not had a prep period since taking this job, and can you tell how thrilled I am to have one now?? My classes are basically English and history while hers are math and science, and we split the electives. It changes a bit second semester, but it does get everyone what they need. The returning sunshines aren't thrilled to have to learn a second teacher, but it really is in their best interests.
I guess the most significant part of this week was how quickly the kids from the other school assimilated. They are all interacting with each other, sharing stories about cars and cops and parents and realizing what I knew from the beginning: they are the same kids, they just have different school colors.... which they're still not sure they care about completely. It took us less than a week to start to form this community, which is all the proof I need that none of them are bad kids. They are now my kids, for good or for ill. I will defend them when necessary, and I will call them on the carpet when needed, too. Mama Bear has 22 sunshines, and it doesn't really matter where they come from. They're here now, and that's all that matters to me.