Today was the first day of school for the traditional calendar schools throughout the state. There are 36 middle schools in the county in which I teach, but ten of them, including mine, are multi-track year-round schools. So while the majority of the county welcomed students today for day one, our students arrived for day 36.
The sight that greeted them on this day was a sight most students never see: the halls being painted. This would normally be done when the students are out of the building (likely during the summer) but with the exception of Christmas break, there are students and staff in the building of a multi-track year-round school – literally – year round.
This means several things are fundamentally different logistically, besides students changing classes with wet paint on the walls. Teachers change classrooms four times a school year, so it means we don’t hoard like our pack-rat teaching brethren. For electives, PE, and many Special Programs teachers, it means having classes of combined tracks: three weeks with one group, three weeks with the other, and six weeks both groups together. It means having two Open Houses, two picture days, etc; since one track would always miss it otherwise.
Having taught traditional, one of my favorite aspects of year round is what it means for the energy and “feeling” in the building. One track (of students and staff) is always “tracked out”, another has just returned, another is in full-swing, and a fourth track is eagerly awaiting their turn, just about to leave. The energy is different from a traditional school because everyone is not rested (or exhausted) at the same time.
This is a great reminder to my perfectionist nature that tends to think there’s some magic time that will be better. Start now. I’ve taken my own advice this year and made changes I am very excited about and look forward to blogging and sharing.
And, as I personally count down the eight school days left before it’s my turn to pack up my classroom into a closet so that the group currently tracked out can move in, I reflect on the changes within the school. There have been a great many so far, and still many to come I have no doubt, that will be teaching me volumes and therefore will also make an appearance on my blog. At any rate, it seems fitting that as we continue to dive into these new waters at my school, the appearance reflects the change in substance.
One of the gentlemen painting this morning told me the name of this paint color is “reflecting pool”.
What great changes and improvements do you have planned for this year?