Worst. Top. Ten. List. Ever.

I can not possibly put into words how overwhelmed I feel right now.... but I will try with this handy dandy list of THE TOP TEN actual and/or potential reasons why:

1.  I had to move my entire house before the new renter moved in yesterday - all the while trying to set-up my classroom, write lesson plans and prepare logistics for the first week of school. I can't TELL you how many days this week I was up till 4am making trips to the storage unit....or sitting alone on my floor packing bins of crap up.... or packing my car with more things going up to my classroom.  Then, after a couple hours of sleep, I'm up, showered and dressed, driving up the parkway by 6, 7, or 8am to spend a day setting up and organizing my room in time for the first day of school.  At 4pm, I leave my classroom, sit for an hour in traffic, come back to my house, and the vicious cycle repeats all over again.  If it weren't for Dunkin Donuts Large Iced Mocha Latte Lites with an EXTRA turbo shot of espresso, I wouldn't be here today writing this blogpost.  Yes, I gussied the room up weeks ago....but that was before I emptied out my house and brought MORE bins of supplies and decorations in...and that was before the district dumped boxes of new and old books in my room....and before I realized I better decorate my walls with posters that have positive messages about diversity or character... and hang up "jobs" charts and calendars....  Or, in this case, a dartboard with my potential fire dates on it that I can take a shot at when the shit hits the fan in three days.    

2.  Because I had to get everything out of my house, planning for the first day of school sadly HAD to be put off.  So, yes - I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING PLANNED.  NOTHING. No lesson plans... for all five subjects.  I have a lot of ideas... sometimes, so many at once that it overwhelms me because I don't know where to begin..... So, I need to spend these next three days "off" getting them all out of my head, organized and down onto paper.  No worries... it can be done.  And it will get done.

3.  I've recently discovered for the first time in my life that when my body is put under an extreme amount of stress, it breaks out into itchy hives..... that DON'T go away.  How exciting.  Hives.  I feel like a leper.  And what's worse, is that seeing all of these hives produces more anxiety because they're not going away... and they're becoming more visible....which in turn, produces more hives.  Yet another repetitious vicious cycle.   

4.  I still have yet to work out what my schedule will be with my students (i.e. which periods I'm teaching which subjects).  Some class periods are decided for me due to in-class support/pull-out support for my students with special needs (I will have four children with high functioning autism).  But the others I can play around with a bit.  I also have yet to really look into the background information for each of my 18 fourth graders - so while other teachers have already made their name tags, and hung personalized job lists and birthday announcements all around their room, I have being doing number 1 on this list.
5.  My classroom library is in complete upheaval.  NONE of my books are in any discernible order.  Worse yet, NONE of them are leveled (the new thing to do with classroom libraries is to level all of the books with an A-Z system so that students stick to "just right books" and read at their level, only advancing to the next letter after mastering their current one.)  I'm hoping the shiny things I've placed around the library (lava lamp, mini fountain, cool gemstone globe, pictures of animals) will distract people long enough to buy me some time to get my leveling done by the start of the first full week of school on the 13th. 

6. See: numbers 1-5.

7.  I met the adorable daughter (who LOVED my room!) of the PTA president that I will affectionately call "Mrs. Obama".  In related news, I met Mrs. Obama.  She was very kind....but the first thing I did was correct her claim that her daughter was in my class and tell her to her face that I'd only have her for science.  I was wrong.  Flop sweat.  Nervous laughter.  She corrected me.  PTA: 1 - Me: 0    I'm sure I made a fabulous first impression.  Here's to hoping the excitement generated by my room from both her and her daughter will compensate for my brazen "I'M-A BRAND-NEW-TEACHER-AND-HAVE-NO-IDEA-WHAT-I'M-DOING-FAUX-PAS".  She then reminded me that the class lists went out to all of the parents last week and since then they've all been feverishly firing back emails to each other about whose kid is in whose class....and with not one, but TWO new fourth grade teachers (Cady and myself), it's BIG news this year who got who.  Note to self:  LOOK AT MY CLASS LIST.  You know...for the first time.

8.  I found out that not only will I have Sasha and Malia in my class, but I will also have one of the Bush twins, Chelsea Clinton, AND Susan Ford Bales.  That's right - I also have the children of THREE former PTA presidents.    This can either go VERY well for me - or VERY badly.  Don't ask me today how I think it will go - ask me in October. 

9.  Back to school night is in ten days.  Enough said.

10.  The air conditioner broke in my classroom. So while I was loading in heavy bin after heavy bin, and moving stacks of books that The Rock would have struggled with in oppressive 90 degree heat, every other teacher was glad they brought in their shawls because their rooms get so cold so quickly.  The "says-randomly-inappropriate-comments" veteran fourth grade teacher (who I CAN'T wait to tell you more about), happily reminded me that she needn't worry about how cold it gets, because once the rooms fill with kids, they get MUCH warmer.  Thanks for that.  *I NEED to think of a good name for her - it will take time.  You'll understand why later.  Let's just put it this way - I recently found out that when Clarissa nonchalantly asked me during my initial interview how I would handle working with a negative teacher in the school,  it was a very calculated and intentional question... and not just a routine, quota-filling standard interview tester.   

One more reason why this is the worst top ten list ever, is because there aren't ten things.  There are eleven.  I told you it was bad.

11.  Turtle won.  After nearly 60 votes, slow and steady did in fact win the race.  Don't get me wrong - I'm excited....a turtle will be a very cool pet for fourth graders.  And thanks to a surprisingly invested and rousing pet debate via intelligent facebook commentators, I now have a ton of ideas about how to integrate any class pet into a menagerie of interdisciplinary lessons (thanks for that guys!).  So why is it bad!?  I have NO IDEA how to own and/or take care of a turtle.  Given the time constraints, I may not be able to go out this weekend and sit through an impromptu lesson on the care of turtles by some semi-knowledgeable-I-don't-give-a-shit-high-school-pet-store-worker...but rest assured, I will have turtle in hand by the 13th.   That being said, thanks to google, and the fact that the turtle has maintained a steady lead for quite some time now,  I did some preliminary research a couple weeks ago....I think I know which one to get... but I'll keep you abreast of all the updates.  And yes, WE HAVE ONE WEEK TOGETHER TO COME UP WITH A NAME.  I will post a new poll ASAP featuring potential names.  You will be allowed to make one choice.....Make it a good one!  (You can change it if you change your mind, but unlike the last poll, you will not be able to choose your top few choices.)  Feel free to comment on this post and leave name suggestions...I'll gather up the best and my own and put together a list from which to vote!


  1. Name for turtle: Pokey

  2. you can go Rocky and get two turtles named cuff and link!
    and, why not pawn off some of the research about how to take care of the pets on the kids -- a first research project

  3. tabitha - i LOVE the idea of giving the students the task of researching (over this coming weekend) all the things we need to do/know about to properly care for our turtle(s).... whoever comes in with the best information can hold the "pet" job... NICE!

    it can be like a cutesy job application process that every student will probably go after!

  4. I think the hives might be from the "Dunkin Donuts Large Iced Mocha Latte Lites with an EXTRA turbo shot of espresso". Take a deep breath... Everything will be ok... You are making me stressed just reading all of this. You are going to be great by just walking in there and being yourself! :)