So, today was the first day of school. Where should I start? Ah, at the beginning, I suppose.
I had a really weird dream about 4 in the morning. Something about an eerie house with many rooms overlooking a beach, fatty grub-worms that would poke out of the sand, and dozens and dozens of large crows that would try to eat the worms, but I had to shoo them away for some reason. Don't worry, I fell back to sleep just fine.
Too early to begin? How about breakfast, when it rained as we sat watching the sidewalk from the buffet in the hotel. It cleared up by the time we finished, but it didn't make the train ride (wall to wall people, naturally) and the 4-block walk to school (amid the humidity, naturally) any less sweaty. Don't worry, I brought a change of clothes.
The morning started with an assembly. 400 high school guys looking down on the teachers from the bleachers/balcony that overlook the gym floor. At least give me a podium or stage or something. Should we do a can-can dance? No, just stand and wave as new teachers are introduced. Don't worry, they all cheered.
The first day is all introduction to syllabus and expectations and rules and grading practices, etc. etc. No class over 20 students. Scratch that. No class AT 20. My max is 19. This is grade 10, people. The grade that averages 36-38 per class at Birmingham.
Okay, now I have to clue you in on St. Mary's wacky "modified block" schedule. As a proponent of block scheduling, I think it actually works. But heck if it ain't complicated. The core classes are blocked into 4 blocks, and they rotate every day, so Block 1 is first period on A Days, Block 2 is first on B days, etc. This lets E and F days be double periods, so you only have Blocks 1 and 2 on E Days and 3 and 4 on F Days. But wait, there's more! The last period of the day can be fine arts or sports electives. These don't rotate like the other 4 blocks, but they may alternate every other day, because the days are ALSO labeled either Blue or Gold. Oh, but there's even more! The periods just before AND after lunch are elective periods that contain language classes, study halls, and more. Like the last period, they might alternate according to Blue or Gold, or they may not. Don't worry, all you really need to know about all that is that I only have the 4 core blocks plus one of the elective periods-- the last period is Journalism every other day. In other words, if you factor lunch into it, I don't have classes for over two hours in the middle of every day.
So as you can see, all told, it was a pretty easy day. Really, the students are great, if a bit quiet.
But don't worry. I'm sure THAT will change, of course.