My first day as an intern began with a district wide breakfast at the high school. I say "the" high school because there is only one of them. For some of you, this may be par for the course, but coming from where I grew up, it will take some getting used to. I lived in a suburban sprawl, where entire neighborhoods appeared overnight and new schools were always being unveiled. There were at least ten high schools in my district that I can recall offhand, and my graduating high school class was nearly 600 students. Here in New England, that numbers dwarfs the populations of many schools, including faculty and staff.
Even though it is sometimes surprising to me, and the administrative costs must be astronomical, I find that I really enjoy the tight-knit community structure. Already, I am on a first name basis with umpteen faculty and staff members, which certainly helps assuage any nervousness I may feel as the new guy on the block.
Also helping me gain confidence was the crisp new $20 bill I received courtesy of the state teachers' union. As part of her presentation, the union rep distributed raffle tickets to the audience. When she emphasized a benefit to union membership, she called out a number and rewarded the ticket holder with $20. Mine was the second number called. Frickin' sweet!
Next, there was a series of introductions and gifts for faculty members. The longer you had worked for the district, the better your gift. Five year tenure earned you a corsage; forty year tenure earned you a windbreaker and a totebag. So on your first day as an intern, you get twenty dollars to do with as you please. After 40 years, a totebag. Does anyone else see the irony?
By the end of the day, I was beginning to wonder why my mentor teacher signed on for this. The year is already packed with changes and transitions for her. She is implementing a new math program designed by the NSF. I believe it's called Connected Math. In December, the entire school moves across town to a new facility. With that move comes a new name. Wescott Junior High will become Westbrook Middle. And on top of all that, my mentor teacher announced to our team that she is pregnant and due in March.
I can't wait to find out what revelations today brings.