Saturday, September 17, 2011

New News

Well, we have been in Maryland for almost 3 months and I have been back to working full time for about 1 month.  Now that I am working at a new school I am finding myself really missing my old school, my old grade level, my old team members (and the entire staff I worked with) and my old routines.  I really hate being the new person and trying to learn all of the "ins and outs" of the school and I am really hating learning a new curriculum for a new grade.  I feel so lost and behind.  I know it will get better and it will take time, but I just keep thinking about how easy this year would have been if we stayed in Arizona and I was still teaching 3rd grade at LP.
I know a few of my AZ teacher friends are curious about the differences in the states curriculum and procedures so I am going to try my best to lay it all out for all (3) of you who read this :)

In MCPS (Montgomery County Public Schools) there are no materials with the curriculum.  In the curriculum outline it says things like " Week 3-Reading-Story Elements" and we are suppose to find our own books and own materials to teach said Story Elements.  In Math it's pretty much the same thing... "Place Value, Expanded Notation..." there aren't even unit tests.  We have to make our own.
Right now we are doing the M-class tests which are the same as Running Records but it is all done on a Palm Pilot.  Also, if the student is reading higher than a level 5, then they do not have to be DIBELed.  And the classroom teacher does the DIBELS on the palm pilot.
Another thing about my district is that there is so much diversity.  180 countries are represented in the schools throughout MCPS.
Here are some things that are different about my school:  The principal does not check lesson plans, there is no dress code (as long as it is appropriate), we get 1 day a week as extended planning time (during school hours), all of our specials are the same time, 1 hour of uninterrupted lunch and there are no duties for classroom teachers.  The extended planning time is when the specials teacher covers your class for 30 minutes then takes them to their class so you and your team can have a longer planning time during the school day and not after school.  I really like this, but the only thing that stinks is that we do not have a special on Friday, which is the day after we all plan together so I have no time to make my copies for the next week except for lunch and after school.
My school is a GT/LD (Gifted and Talented/Learning Disabled) and a DHOH (Def and Hard of Hearing) school.  I am really learning a lot about DHOH.
One thing that I am not a fan of about my school is that I am in a portable.  Dont ask me why they thought it was a good idea to put 2nd grade outside in a portable instead of 4th or 5th grade, but oh well, I'm stuck there.

Well now that I told you a few things about Maryland and MCPS, I would like to tell you about the things I miss about LP and PUSD:
I miss the wonderful amazing people that I worked with for the past several years.  I miss having a special everyday and for 50 minutes.  I miss all of my wonderful technology, especially my voice enhancer.  I miss having all of the materials I would need. I miss having teacher's manuals.  I miss my easy commute.  I miss getting out at 3:00.  One of the biggest things I miss is KNOWING WHAT THE HECK TO DO EVERYDAY.  I am feeling so lost because I have never taught 2nd grade.  I figured it wouldnt be that different from 3rd grade, but I was wrong.  They are more like kindergarteners.  I have had to go back to the way I did things when I taught kindergarten and I am not a fan so far.  I am spending so much time on routines, rules, procedures and transitions.  I will get the hang of it soon, I hope.

Well I think this is enough for now.  I will try and remember to update you all soon!

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