Category: day sixty-four

Day Sixty-Four

So. For the last two B days in my schedule, a student has sworn at me, but it didn’t happen today. Yay for breaking that trend!

I still ended up raising my voice, though, and I hate that I did (especially after so many years of not having to do it, of being “the teacher who doesn’t yell”). I hate what it does to the classroom environment. 

But, for this one student, nothing else has been effective… It suuuuucks…

I did have successes with other students, though. 

One who finds asking teachers for help very challenging came up and asked me for an extension on her paper (which I totally granted). She rehearsed with Ms. N beforehand, and I saw them high five afterwards, which was sweet. Self-advocacy is one of the big, key skills we want students to develop, so whatever we can do to support them, we’ll do.

Another big success: Mrs. T and I found a way to help students who were losing steam towards the end of the double block, and being really disruptive and defiant as a result. I got out my stopwatch after the vocab quiz today, and she told the class we were going to split up the time into silent work time and break time, and gradually increase the intervals of each: so, like, work for ten minutes and break for two, work for fifteen and break for four, etc… There’s flex time and lunch, too, so there’s some big breaks already built in. It’s a bit juvenile, but it did work, so we’re going to keep doing it. 

And I’ll figure out how to stop raising my voice. I will. 

I had a very full Block Five because I had a meeting, and then a few students came by to ask various questions, and then I got caught up in The Federalist Papers. 

As you do.

See, I’m going to use my flex time on Friday to hold a review of Fed. 10 and 51 because my last APUSGOV test revealed that some of my students don’t quite grasp them fully. So the review is open to anyone who feels like they’ll benefit from it. I have nine students signed up so far. 

So I was prepping for that, and got sucked in, and didn’t leave until 4:00, but I got some good work done. 

Day Sixty-Four

This morning the bombshell that we’ll be facing staff cuts next year dropped. We knew it was coming, but the local paper identified specifically what the cuts would be, including a position in my department. It won’t be me because I have seniority over everyone except my department head, and I generally do a good job, but it’s going to be somebody. And that sucks. 

It’s all about the money, though, and so was my APUSGOV class (how’s that for a transition???)

I spent it going over Federal Budget 101 with my students because I’m teaching about the legislative branch and there’s a budget fight looming, so it’s quite timely. Amusingly, my brain blanked on the word “omnibus” for about half the lesson, but I got it back! It was a fun lesson, too; we read the info aloud together, pausing as needed for questions and the occasional tangent, and linked it to what’s currently happening in Congress. We’ll talk about that again on Friday. 

I got observed by Ms. R, the head of the math department. See, after Mr. F came to observe me during his instructional rounds, he had to give his write-up to her, and she decided she wanted to come by on her rounds. Most of my students were in her class last year, so they were happy to have her join us at the table. She’s also a former tax attorney, so she was able to contribute to some of our tangents, which were (inevitably) often about taxes and the tax bill.

There was also a bit of Hamilton’s “Cabinet Battle #1″ because we were talking about excise taxes, and how they were the main means of taxation in the early republic, so “imagine what’s gonna happen when you try to tax our whiskey..”

So that was cool. 

I wrapped up Shake Hands With the Devil in World, and set the stage for all the dot connecting I’m going to do next class. I’m told I keep leaving them in suspense, which is fantastic; I want them to look forward to class, you know? Also fantastic: one of my former students came by to let me know how much being in my class last year is helping her in her classes this year. She said she was feeling so confident, and able to make so many connections between what she learned from me and the new material she’s learning, and she just wanted to say thanks. 

It doesn’t get better than that.