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We are all back in school now and settling into the routine that guides the larger part of our lives. It’s an old routine, but also new. New for me with my new position as a STEM Coach instead of a classroom teacher and new for the kids as they move up a grade to different teachers and classes (and in my son’s case to a new school – junior high). We are still struggling with getting to bed on time and up so early in the morning; sleeping in is an aspect of summer we all enjoy. It’s commonly in the high 80s and low 90s with dripping humidity which makes it even more pleasant to escape to the air conditioned schools!
Summer ended (the vacation, not the season) with an unexpected event. The weekend before I returned to school my oldest daughter had to have emergency surgery. She was volunteering at a camp for kids when she started having a sharp pain in her side. Ever the stoic, she ignored it for a day, taking ibuprofen and hoping it would get better. The camp didn’t have a nurse on staff so she finally texted me to come get her. We went straight to urgent care and after waiting there for 2 hours they sent us to the emergency room.
Where we waited some more until in the wee hours of Sunday morning, after blood tests and a CAT Scan, we were told she had acute appendicitis and needed surgery. Luckily she came through with flying colors and was released Monday. She then had a bit of a relapse due to an infection but fought that off and is on the mend.
My new job has gotten off to a slow start as the week before school started the assistant superintendent (who oversees the STEM program) resigned to take a new job! The new assistant superintendent is my old principal. These two men, while friends, have diametrically opposite ways of thinking and doing things. The first is a strategic, long-term planning sort, the latter a jump in and get it done fellow. Even so he hasn’t wanted to jump in on someone else’s planned path but to blaze his own. So we are backing up to go forward and if you have to do that it’s best done before you really get started!
I’m working in both the Junior High and High School and have a small office in the former and a large classroom in the latter. I’m teaching one class – computer science in science class- at the Junior High and consulting with teachers on ways they can bring collaborative, hands-on STEM projects into their classroom. For instance a social studies teacher who has a unit on Africa coming up wants to do a STEM project on drought. The 7th grade science teachers have a unit on soil so we are looking at some projects on what sorts of soil retain water. And the PE teacher at the high school does a cardboard boat regatta that’s hands on and lots of fun but wants to make it more academic so we’re getting with the physics teacher to add some math and physics to it.
I think this job will be a good fit. It’s very creative and requires a lot of research which is my forte. I’m enjoying teaching one class and the kids are very engaged. We have covered the basics of Code.org’s programming system (StarLogo Nova) and are about to program a computer model of an epidemic. I’m co-teaching so next year the science teacher can take over the class (and maybe I’ll co-teach something new). I have a lot more freedom (no more first lunch at 10:14 AM, or hall duty) and I’m feeling like I can breathe again. I’m hopeful that this year, and the STEM program will be a success.