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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to school

School has started again. It's kind of like pulling off a band-aid...the build up is way worse than the reality. :) I was like a little kid kicking and dragging to school over the last couple of weeks as I got my room ready, but once the kids started walking in for our Open House on Monday night, then I was ready and excited.

I love to see my "alumni" pass through the halls. I had lots of hugs from former students and former parents. I had many of my students for two years, so I built strong relationships with them and their families. This year, two of my students are siblings of previous students. It was so fun to watch the older sisters come in and show the little ones around. They still had such a sense of ownership.

I pray that my former students fly this year. It's such a responsibility to make decisions about their placement at the end of the year. Which level of special education help will enable them to succeed? I always aim for the least possible help. It's so easy to keep students in a more intensive setting because it seems safer: you know they'll be successful because you (or someone like you) can keep a close eye on them and make sure they're getting the information. But that kind of a placement can also be limiting for a child who doesn't NEED that much help. Ugh. I agonize over placements and then watch and listen nervously over the next school year to see how my graduates fare, how my judgement was.

I think this is going to be a good year. I'm so excited to have my kiddos in my classroom tomorrow and get started. I have some new things planned, and I'm ready to put them into action. One thing I'm going to miss, though, is the moment of silence law. Illinois has been through a strange oddessy over the past couple of years. A law was passed to allow a moment of silence in schools. Then, it became law that you HAD to have a moment of silence in the classroom. Of course, we couldn't mention prayer. Some of my teacher friends and I joked to each other that we loved the moment of silence because it was the only time of the day that our classrooms were totally quiet. Aaaaahhhhh! Haha.

Truly, though, I don't know that any of my students took that moment to pray, but I sure did! If that law increased prayer in the classroom any, my guess is that it was all teachers praying! In addition to the quiet time, I felt better about every day after taking those few seconds to send up a prayer for a good school day, for wisdom in dealing with my students, for enthusiasm and creativity and joy.

Well, that was last year. Later in the year, an injunction was filed to stop the moment of silence. So now the law tells us that we are to have no official group moment of silence. Hopefully my students won't see that as license to talk all day! :)

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