Category: day fifty-nine

Day Fifty-Nine

Last night I decided I wanted to redo an entire unit in APUSGOV, so I stayed up late to edit some papers, and went to work a little earlier than usual this morning to print copies and update my boards. Was I ready to teach the new stuff by the time the bell rang? You bet I was.

I actually spent the first half hour of class going over the unit test they took last class. Then I handed out unit guides, assigned the first assessment (a research paper on major legislation, which I wrote instructions for at about midnight), and started talking about Congress. I showed some West Wing (”Mr. Willis of Ohio”), too, because it’s a fun addition to my teaching.

Mrs. T and I had our hands full in World/English because, well, it’s Monday after a vacation. We had kids who were coming off a rough time at home, or too little sleep, or something else, so we had to be mindful of that and manage any disruptive behaviors that resulted. Also, it was snowing, which distracts even the most focused students, and we just had to live with it.

I did raise my voice once to end an argument- I had to get up over it- and I’m annoyed because it’s not something I like doing. The problem is I haven’t yet found another way to deal with this group of students. They respond if I yell; they don’t respond to anything that worked in past years.

It’s wicked frustrating.

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I know I keep saying that, but it’s true, and maybe I didn’t expect it fourteen years into this profession. It doesn’t make me want to quit or anything dramatic like that; it makes me want to just figure it out already. 

This is the struggle of the impatient perfectionist.

There is good work being done, though. Most students are drafting, a few are revising, and two are totally done. Those who are behind are catching up. And I’ve answered lots of cool questions about writing and about African history, so this is sparking some curiosity- and that’s the goal.

I tinkered with my APUSGOV lessons some more during my prep time, and put shiny new books (for the unit on Central Asia, and courtesy of Mrs. T’s giant English budget this time) on my shelves. Then I went to track practice because, once again, tis the season.

The team is about the same size as it was last year, and it’s young- only three seniors- so it’s got a lot of potential. The Head Coach and I are looking forward to seeing what they can do.

Day Fifty-Nine

I have a new sprinter in the making on the indoor track team. 

He’s brand new to the sport and has no technique yet, but he will. It’s going to be tons of fun training up his talent. And, really, it’s just going to be a fun season; the vibe so far is so nice and easy-going. These kids just go out and do work, and support each other, and I love it. A lot of them are in my World classes, too- or were in past years- which is neat. 

World went really well today. I taught the first of three lessons I’ll teach on the genocide in Rwanda. This goal of this one was getting students to understand the historical background, and I think the most gratifying thing was the group of girls in my Block 4 class who kept gasping or exclaiming “No!” as I detailed the key events leading up to April 6, 1994. Their eyes just kept getting wider, too, as the way the genocide unfolded became clear.

I know I’m teaching powerful stuff, but it’s always good to have that kind of reaction to confirm it

I ended class right on “450 peacekeepers were left trying to save 30,000 lives” (find out what happens next time you come to class, kids!) Could’ve heard a pin drop.

So I’m feeling accomplished.

That’s the general mood on the floor right now. It seems like everyone is on top of their game, which is not common at this time of year, so I’m psyched about it. We spent our team meeting talking about our historically low Q1 failure rates and the generally positive trends we’re seeing so far this quarter, which was lovely. Not all meetings are so positive, you know?

I’m on facebook right now inviting my cacophonous friends out to dinner tomorrow (senior class is doing a pizza and ice cream fundraiser at a local restaurant) to celebrate our awesomeness. That’s going to happen.