environmental textbookI recently learned that I won’t be teaching Biology this next school year (which starts in only three weeks, oh my!). Instead, I’m taking on Environmental Science. I had been slowly poking away over the summer at lesson plans for Biology but now I have to quickly change course. I’m also moving to a different classroom in a building on the opposite end of the campus.

I’m staving off panic as best as I can. Last year was my first year as a teacher and it wasn’t all that great as far as my being a teaching professional goes. Whose first year is? My hope was that I could teach Biology again in year two because I would already have a decent grasp of the curriculum and have at least the general foundation of lesson plans in place. I could spend year two concentrating much harder on classroom management and the art of teaching since a lot of the lesson planning and gathering of materials was done. I spent the majority of my time last year trying to figure out how I was going to teach the material in the provided curriculum map. I’m talking about working entire weekends and holidays, literally not taking a day off for the first few months of school. I was concentrating so much on making sure I had something for the students to do/learn every day that I had little time to think about properly managing procedures and rules. Fortunately, I only had a few “oh no, what am I going to do” nearly out of control class episodes. It could have been worse but it certainly could have been better. Heck, I only had one subject to worry about last year. Some teachers have three or more to prepare for at once!

Despite the coming changes, I feel OK. I contacted one of the other Environmental Science teachers via email to say howdy and we’ve been corresponding ever since. She’s very welcoming and helpful. She also really wants us Environmental teachers to work as a team, which I am sincerely looking forward to! I have the new curriculum map and managed to snag a textbook to look at. What I’ve seen so far is promising. The textbook matches the map nicely. Last year in Biology the textbook wasn’t so evenly matched, which caused me a lot of heartburn. And the curriculum looks interesting throughout. There were a lot of tough topics in Biology to cover that simply didn’t appeal at all to the students. Enzymes? Cellular respiration? That was rough. I think Environmental has a better chance of connecting with more students.

I don’t have keys to my new classroom yet but administrators kindly let me in one day last week so I could move all of my stuff over. I’ve only been teaching one year but, wow, do I have a lot of stuff already! I’m glad I had a couple of carts to haul everything around on. The room’s previous teacher still has materials in the room and all of the cabinets are locked up. Hopefully, it won’t take too long to swap. I really want to get the room set up and ready to go.

loggerhead-sea-turtleIn light of the subject switch, I’ve been hunting for materials. There is no end to very helpful websites out there and I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface. Marine Discovery Center. Marine Science Center. Turtle Conservancy. Inwater Research Group. Sea Turtle Conservancy. The Marine Discovery Center and the Marine Science Center are local to me here in Volusia County and I recently visited both. At the Science Center I saw some nice sea turtle posters on the walls but not for sale. I wanted to find where I could buy them and after some Internet sleuthing I discovered I could get them for FREE! How awesome is that? One set of posters can be obtained by Florida teachers from here. A different set is available to Florida teachers here. They’re very professional and worth having, especially for new teachers like me who are seriously lacking in classroom decorations. I haven’t received them in the mail yet, but when I do I’ll post about it. The posters’ artist is Dawn Witherington; check out her website Drawn by Dawn.

Whew … lots of changes and lots to do.