Friday, June 24, 2016

How I Spent My Summer Vacay

New Chorus books!! Thank you, DCPS!!

As I scroll through friends' Facebook postings, I see folks traveling the world, hanging with family, visiting new places, hiking, swimming, fishing, going to the movies and attending various camps during the summer.  Well...this is how I spent my summer vacation.  At CAMP TEXTBOOK!!  

They arrive from the School Book Depository (the SBD) on pallets by the hundreds.  Each book is new, untouched and boxed in a cardboard cocoon.  I am responsible for attaching a 2-part barcode to each book - one on the front cover and one inside the back cover - in case one of the covers go missing with repeated use by students.

I work with the drama teacher on this little project every summer.  The Assistant Principal in charge of textbooks cannot complete the task alone, so we volunteered to assist so that books would be available when school reconvened in August.  We did this last year.  We came back for more this year.  It is a mindless task that keeps us "Type A's" busy for weeks.  We look forward to it. 

The Assistant Principal was heading out of the country for a week and left us a 3-page instruction sheet on what she needed done while she was away.  In two days, we completed every task on the list.  We will get a new set of instructions when she returns.  By then, there will be more pallets and more books to barcode.

When I was in elementary school, I distinctly remember writing an essay at the start of every school year entitled, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation." My essay is now complete!

Until next time... 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"It's a Wrap!" 2016

Another school year has come to an end.  There are days you think you'll never make it to the end.  And other days, when you think, "where has all the time gone?"  The older I become, time seems to slip through my fingers much more quickly.

Teaching is an interesting profession.  It is the only profession I know where the employee has to set up their workspace at the beginning of the year and break it down ten months later.  We are asked to remove everything off the floors and walls so that our summer custodial crew can prepare the building for the next year.  We turn in our keys, even though we will be back in 54 days.  After 12 years of teaching, I still find this a rather odd practice.

For the record, I had multiple projects unfold simultaneously in my classroom this year.  My classroom is small for a chorus room.  There is limited storage space in my classroom.  For three years, I have been working on re-arranging, re-organizing and making my workspace functional, inviting and user-friendly.  Since I have been at my school, I have purchased hundreds of dollars worth of new music and had nowhere to store it.  I had 6 defunct filing cabinets in a tiny space that were cram-jammed full of music.  Some of the music was so old, it cost $.20 for an octavo.  Most octavos nowadays cost $1.95 each.

My music filing system has been a three-year, ongoing project.  Funding had to be secured.  The System had to be purchased.  60-year old cubbies had to be removed.  The System had to be installed where the cubbies used to live.  All of the music had to be transferred from 54-year old filing cabinets into the new System (Thank you, Stephanie!!)  The entire process broke down when the doors for the System were damaged by the freight carrier who delivered them back in April.  This project would have been completed before the end of the year had this not happened....UGH!!

As you can see in the bottom photo, the new doors are still resting in their shipping coffin and sitting on the floor waiting to be installed.  I made several attempts to schedule the installation before the final bell rang this year, but I couldn't make it happen.  FRUSTRATION!!

In the meantime, I decided to clean out the keyboard closet and move the old filing cabinets out so we could figure out a way to install racks on which to hang 21 keyboards.  Another unfinished project....SAY IT ISN'T SO!!

If you know me at all, you know that I need closure in my world.  I am not at rest until the compartments of my life are packaged up nicely and neatly with a red bow on top.

My school year still has a gaping hole in it.  Doors on the floor.  Keyboards on the floor.  At this point, I'm not sure when or how my little projects will be completed.  The custodians cannot strip and wax my floors with the doors in their final resting place.  Drama Dude said he'd figure out a way to hang the keyboards.  So now we wait.....

 Keyboard closet where music was formally filed.
No more filing cabinets!! YAY!!

 Electronics covered.
Bulletin boards refreshed for next year.

New Music Filing System (doors on the floor).
Classroom stripped down for custodial crew.

I would like to thank Brandon Lesando for his assistance yesterday with the filing cabinets.  I could never have accomplished this task without his help.  Drama Dude will come through; he always does.  At this point, I cannot vouch for the installers.  Unfinished business.  My least favorite thing ever!

Until next time...