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    Keep your chin up!
    By sue d.

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    This is my eighth year of teaching third grade, and I have NEVER done centers. Unless everyone in your grade level does, it is not necessary that you create them. Just have a little spot where you place some "early finisher" activities, such as puzzles, drawing papers, old envelopes, books, and some extra credit worksheets. That should be enough for now. As for being overwhelmed, you're exactly right about grad school not preparing teachers for reality. I have a History B.A. and an M.Ed. in K-8Ed. I felt that my grad degree was just a payment for a teaching job, my credentials and a higher salary. Piaget has little to do with meetings, grade books, notes from parents and other daily struggles of teachers. First, read Harry Wong's book, First Days of School (something like that), then start your organization tools gathering. My first year was successful in part due to my obsessive love of organization. I spent many a night at school 'till 10 p.m. just typing labels for my files, catching up on grading and reading school memos. The good news is that once you have your org. system down, everything has a place, and you can spend a little time in the a.m. before school, and a little time after school each day, getting your work done. For the past 6 years of my teaching, I leave at 4. Good luck!

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