Oakland Middle School teachers prepare for new school year

Thursday, August 14, 2014 | 9:08 p.m. CDT
With Columbia Public Schools' classes to begin Tuesday, teachers at Oakland Middle School began arranging their classrooms on Thursday.

COLUMBIA—Teachers at Oakland Middle School were busy Thursday afternoon preparing classrooms for the new school year, which begins Tuesday.

Erin LaFond is a drama teacher who found her classroom completely rearranged when she came to work Wednesday.

LaFond said she set up her classroom the way she wanted at the end of the past school year in June, but maintenance crews moved her things to wax the floor and didn't put them back in the same place. She's been reorganizing since then.

Still, LaFond is excited for the challenges of a new school year, including teaching sixth grade for the first time.

"I like new things," LaFond said. "I'm always reinventing the wheel, even on things I do year after year."

Ibrahim Khaleel, an industrial technology teacher, spent his lunch break setting out robotics projects for the seventh and eighth grade students who would be stopping by school to pick up their course schedules that evening.

Khaleel teaches three elective courses for seventh and eighth graders: Inventions and Innovations, Space and Aeronautics, and Automation and Robotics. There are currently 187 students enrolled in those classes. Khaleel also teaches Exploring Technology, a course that all sixth graders are required to take.

"I'm looking forward to the students coming in to start designing," Khaleel said. "I like to see the happiness in them when they can say, 'Hey, we built this, and it's starting to work.'"

Supervising editor is Landon Woodroof.

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