School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Pharis says he counted 23 cars belonging to faculty members at one elementary school late one afternoon last week.
The notion that teachers bask in the sun for three months in the summer and show up on the first required day of preplanning to whip their rooms into shape is just not credible, according to Pharis.
The few short days of preplanning before students arrive are filled with meetings, staff development activities, organizing materials and paperwork, and posting standards, rules and procedures, in addition to room and door decorating.
The two-and-a-half days allocated for preplanning is rarely enough time for most teachers to prepare for opening day, school officials say.
On Friday afternoon, a week before the arrival of their new class, Shiver School teachers Heather Hendrix, Lynn Arline and Pam Waldron were hard at work organizing their rooms and decorating doors and hallways in step with the school’s theme, “Finding the Hidden Treasure.”
Mrs. Hendrix came in to work several days before preplanning to get her room in order. “If you can get your room and door ready and make it look inviting to the children, then you can focus on what you’re going to teach and the standards,” explains Hendrix.
Mrs. Hendrix, a third grade teacher who attended Shiver through the eighth grade, is meshing the school theme, (Finding the Hidden Treasure), with her classroom theme – and is challenging the students to “find the hidden treasures somewhere over the rainbow.”
Seventh and eighth grade English/language arts teacher Lynn Arline has been busy a week before school begins “deep cleaning” her classroom, putting up thematic bulletin boards, reorganizing furniture, and even painting a wall in preparation for students on Friday. In keeping with the school’s theme, Arline says her students will be writing about what they treasure most for their first composition assignment.
She and science teacher Pam Waldron and math teacher Missy Roberts have been spending lots of hours in the hallway hanging nets, maps and ocean-related items to build excitement. “You want the kids interested,” says Waldron, and if you don’t come in early you won’t have all the little touches that make them want to learn.”
The junior high teachers will use the visual displays in conjunction with the school theme: “Finding the Hidden Treasure” (under the Sea) to enhance skills in math, science and English.