June and July are summer here in Saskatchewan as far as I’m concerned. I celebrate June’s pleasures during recess, long evenings, and brief weekends, while wistfully wishing someone authoritative would agree Saskatchewan schools should be on holidays. July in Saskatchewan is a delight after a few days of decompression. August is dead to me. There are hints that summer is going to fade and because it really hasn’t, the mosquitos make an appearance on the southern prairie. It is still good, but summer holidays have reached their expiration date. August is somewhat spoiled by the clock beginning to count down. My mind begins its annual preparation.
The first genuine sign I am preparing to go back to work is the commencement of my neurotic dreams of pedagogical inadequacy. I imagine most teachers have experienced this dream. Class has started and I am floundering for ideas, facility, or resources, anxious that both students and colleagues will notice. It must be a variation of the teaching naked dream. The next sign I’m preparing to return is anxiety about the physical arrangement of my room. When can I get in? How might I reshuffle things to make the most of it all? This is where I’m at now, but anxiety is just for dreams. The old guy has preparation down to a comfortable routine now.
Preparation for August 26th began in June when my home room and tentative time table was handed to me. We all met as a group, and I began ordering my work flow for the coming year. Preparation continued into the first week in July. Part of decompressing involves finishing the tasks I started at the end of June. By the time I set school aside, my year plan was formulated, unit plans structured around textbook resources, weekly planner built, and physical resources arranged. I could set my mind at rest for a month.
Come August I poke my head into the school for a quick recon. Yesterday I confirmed that Room 7 has been cleaned (and thourouly tossed, all disordered), and I have a freshly waxed path from the front door to my room. Materializing in the school will no longer disrupt the busy staff. I have to reorganize the furniture and reconnect the electronics this week. I might make a token effort to decorate learning Centers. This will not take long. When it is finished, I will know I can walk into the room on August 26th and deal with last minute changes. August registrations will cause changes. On year that meant adjusting everything to an unexpected split over the weekend. Class lists are tentative, so I leave fussy tasks like name plates till the day before we have students.
Preparation is having your tools organized.