Well, it isn't THE new year but it is A new year. A new school year that is. And, while I've had many new beginnings in my career….a few town changes, a few grade level and subject changes…..this may be the biggest new beginning yet. In 27 years of teaching, this will be the first year I am not a core subject teacher. This will be the first year to teach MULTIPLE grade levels (freshman through senior). This will be the first year I'm not in a regular classroom or regular hallway where my kids can stop. This will be th first year I don't have a YAG or benchmark or six weeks test. This will be the first year without TAAS, TAKS, STAAR, or whatever test-stress. Lots of 'news' this year. You see, while I have a Master's in educational technology, there has never been a position open OR the school wouldn't let me out of my ELA teaching position. Last year, both the technology and journalism positions became available. Since it's -generally-easier to find English teachers than it is to find technology teachers, I was asked if I minded moving into the position and taking over the journalism area also. After much thought and prayer (a whole 5 seconds), I gave a shout, "YES! I'll do it!!!" One of my former students, when she heard of my move, said, "But Miss Elkins! You LOVE teaching reading and English!" To which I replied, "Yes, I do, but you guys don't. I'm tired of fighting you all." She admitted the truth of this and agreed it would be a good move. 😄
It is nice to finally teach something most of the kids like, are interested in, and WANT to take. Of course, the classes are all electives so there are some students stuck in classes they don't want, but they are in the minority.
So instead if teaching what I know-English and reading-to high schoolers, I'm teaching graphic design, principles of audio-visual, audio-visual production, journalism, and advanced journalism. Very exciting but also very scary. I've never taught these 5 subjects. And It has already had its pitfalls. We haven't had A/V in about 10 years so our equipment is sorely outdated. The journalism class was last taught by someone who didn't want it or care about it. So the very expensive cameras and lenses we had are almost all destroyed..roughly $10,000.00. As a photographer, this had me in tears at the amount of money thrown down the drain……for no reason other than the work ethic of someone else. Those three things alone-video cameras and photography cameras and lenses are more than my budget will allow. So I'm working with limited equipment. I'm trying to salvage what I can of the photography stuff. The a/v….well, we just have to find funds for that somewhere.
Also, I've inherited yearbook. A major undertaking. This in itself has been a headache the last two weeks. But hopefully I now have THAT issue all worked out and we can get the ball rolling this week.
I also found out that yearbook, newspaper, and production have UIL categories!!! So I can try to get my kids ready to compete in the spring!!
All in all, it's been an exciting start to a new beginning. I'm back to working 12-14 hour days at school just to stay afloat…. already. Having 5 preps plus 6 UIL events to get ready for……it takes a lot of time. But my stress level is still so much less than it has been. AND I'm learning new, marketable skills in case I move. I can teach something other than ELA!