Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Back in Oklahoma - My New Classroom!

New job, new carpet, new furniture, and a new big screen on the wall.
I moved back to my home state of Oklahoma this summer (without a job) and was unexpectedly offered a position at Norman High School! (Why yes, thank you, I WOULD like to come in for an interview...)

My original plan in moving back was to take a year off to work on my book business full time, but the inexpensive little farmhouse I bought in Southwest Oklahoma just didn't work out for this city girl. There were too many pests and predators in the vicinity--chiggers, (I couldn't wear shoes for two weeks due to festering bites!), snakes, scorpions, mice, rats (yes, actual rats,) wasps, black widows, skunks, and men.

All I knew when I got the job at Norman High was that apartment life suddenly looked real, real good, and that I wanted something new, clean, and way up off the ground. Something that no skunks could crawl under and set up nests. Something with locked doors and gates, and plenty of people around to hear you if you yelled for help.

New, clean, safe apartment secured, I turned my attention to setting up my classroom. They gave me a room that had just been remodeled and had not been used as a classroom yet--everything all new. I didn't have much time to set up before I had to report for new teacher orientation on August 2nd (and I had to make a road trip to close on the sale of my farm August 1st,) so I chose not to worry about putting anything on the walls and just focus on the 14-foot bulletin board on the north wall of the room.
This gorgeous orange bulletin board didn't need a thing but border and a few posters.

My sweet mom drove down from Colorado and helped me shop for supplies including this cute black and white border, as well as helped me unpack the classroom stuff I'd quickly boxed up in May not thinking I'd be classroom teaching for a while. I was relieved to see I'd kept most of my essential props for skits, my Spanish children's books, and my favorite DVDs.
It's not perfect yet, but I have my stacking trays with handouts all set up and baskets of props ready to go. Also, notes and pictures from students in Colorado brighten my workspace and help me remember why I do this job.

The individual tables and chairs are designed to be able to form groups, so after school started I actually had one of my classes help me put them together into groups of 4. I'm planning to play around with different arrangements until I see what I like best. For now, it's been fun just to have all new "toys" to play with in a new environment.
Objectives on the board keep me organized while I'm teaching. These aren't written in a "standards-based" format - they are practical and to the point.

Technology cart with laptop and a document camera that project to the screen. Thank you Norman Public Schools. :-)

I'm really enjoying teaching at Norman High, although learning a new system/school/culture has been overwhelming at times. I've been in Colorado for 15 years, and there are some very clear cultural differences that I'm readjusting to now that I'm back. Oklahoma students are louder and more active (so, a little more draining on the energy levels!) They are also warmer and bond with you faster, and many of them have already completely stolen my heart.

Thankfully we had a 4-day weekend (Friday off) for Labor Day and I had a chance to recoup some energy as well as be productive. I also got out and went on a little mini-vacation in Norman, walking around downtown and having lunch at Earth Café. It's still very warm and lush and green here, and as I walked around enjoying the humidity (yes, ENJOYING it!!! Colorado is high, dry, chilly desert,) I had a peace come over me that everything is going to be all right. :-)

Don't forget to check out my author page on Amazon to get $10 ebooks of all my lesson plans - and $40 print versions too!

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