Well, folks. I probably should have announced this a few weeks ago, but here is some of the biggest news that is happening in my life right now: I accepted a high school English teaching position for this school year. This means I will be leaving my full time job at the hotline and returning to the profession I had serious doubts about when I left my last teaching job. This one is in a new district in Maryland. Everything I have been learning about the district and the school makes me feel like it will be a very different experience than my last position. Although I have understandable lingering anxieties from the disaster that was my last teaching job, I approach my new teacher in-service days starting tomorrow with a good deal of optimism.
I'm very excited to be a Lion (yes, that's our mascot), and the classes are almost perfectly designed for my talents/interests. First semester I will be teaching 10th grade honors (which is an American Lit course) and 9th grade co-taught inclusion English with a commercial reading lab program that I've heard good things about. Second semester, I will be teaching AP Language and Composition and 11th grade English along with the continuation of the same 9th grade English class (it's a 2-credit, 2-semester long course).
The preparations I've been doing for the last month have awoken my sleeping teacher dork self. I re-read Harry Wong's The First Days of School, the single most important text I recommend for new teachers across every discipline and culture. I used it to review all of my old classroom management plans and procedures to come up with a new plan that I'm happy with. It also brought back a touch of that idealism I had when I first became a teacher (although perhaps peppered now with the wisdom and understanding of my years of experience), which I needed.
The most exciting piece, of course, is planning what books we will read this year and what writing assignments we will do. I'm lucky--for ninth graders I can include some really interesting young adult works like The Giver, Speak, and The Hunger Games (yes, really, it's on the approved list and we have a class set); for the tenth most of the American Lit options available are ones I've taught before and love teaching--Of Mice and Men, A Raisin in the Sun, The Crucible, To Kill a Mockingbird, and even the book that has the honor of being my favorite piece of writing, The Things They Carried.
For writing assignments, I believe I have some standard county requirements for each year, but I hope there is some flexibility in that. I will learn more tomorrow at my in-service.
Let the school year begin!