Category: education

When students are trying to ask to go to the w…

They try to mime and be quiet like:

When students walk into their exams

Day One Hundred Eighty-Six

We had two evening teacher workshops this year, which actually count as one of our required 187 days (I don’t question contract math), which means…. TODAY WAS THE LAST DAY! IT’S SUMMER!!!!!!

I had very little to do today because I’m obnoxiously quick, and I had all day yesterday to do stuff, so I helped Mr. F clean up his room. Then Mrs. T and I helped Mr. E move stuff from his current classroom down to a classroom on our floor because he’s going to be the science teacher on our ninth grade team next year. We’re definitely excited to have him.

There was a brief faculty meeting that was really just a send off for The Principal, who is retiring. He commended us all for getting through what was a really tough year and staying positive, and acknowledged it wasn’t always easy. Those of you who read regularly know that we had the toughest, most in-crisis freshmen class I’ve ever had, and then there were all these crazy, unexpected things that the whole school community had to deal with: Incidents the police were involved in, major catastrophes in the local area, the lockdown, the pipes bursting, and everything else… I tend to sum it up with a quote from C.S. Lewis: “Experience, that most brutal of teachers. But you learn. My God, you learn.”

I did learn, and it will make me better, but I am also so, so relieved that this year is done.

I shook The Principal’s hand after the meeting, and thanked him for his support over the years. He really did champion young teachers, and encouraged us to be bold and creative, and I benefited hugely from that. 

And that… was that. 

Until next year!

When it’s exam time

Teachers are like:

Students are like:

I was asked to emcee my school district’s teac…

I was asked to emcee my school district’s teacher’s association’s end of year banquet dinner a few weeks ago… and they asked me to do a comedy bit. I did a fake “hourly comic day” as a day in the life of a teacher. ZERO people listened to the bit while they ate their fajitas and cupcakes, but here are some of the drawings I did! 

Maybe they remind you of your day at school, that was kind of the idea of the bit.

Day One Hundred Eighty-Five

Today was the last day of finals. I didn’t have any to give, and my grades were done yesterday, so I spent the morning cleaning my room (read: scraping gum off the bottoms of tables ew), updating my syllabi for the fall, that sort of thing. After that, I took everything off the ninth grade house bulletin board I’m responsible for, and made sure the kids in the club I advise had done the same with their bulletin board (they had). 

As a thank you gift for all the work we did during the reaccreditation process this year, we were treated to a free lunch, which was delicious. It was a nice day, so everyone hung out on the picnic tables outside the cafeteria afterwards. There’s a little basketball court there, too, so it wasn’t long before a few of the guys I work with started a game of Horse. 

Obviously, I had to join them. 

Now, here’s the thing: I wear dresses and high heels to work nearly everyday, and today- despite it being the students’ last day- was no exception. I was looking fancy. So everyone got a kick out of it when I stepped onto the court and proceeded to drain my first shot. What’s even better is that the SRO- who is a big, young, athletic guy- was the next to shoot, and he totally missed. 

image

I didn’t end up winning, but I did acquire one heck of a cheering squad (which included all the female administrators in the building, naturally), and finished in a respectable third. It was tons of fun.

When everything is in crisis mode with a week …

When I ask students if they are done their ove…

Day One Hundred Eighty-Four

Students in both of my Block 4 classes (A day, followed by B day) wrote their final essays today. The A day students came in and crushed because that’s just how they roll; there were no questions, no one needed help, everyone finished with time to spare… And, hey, that’s fine by me because it gave me time to grade the exams I had leftover from yesterday. I had been planning to do that once students left (exam days are half days for them), so it was great to get an earlier start on it. 

The B day students needed a bit of a pep talk before they started writing their essays, and some reminders to use the notes/outlines they’d prepared, and that’s fine, too. Finals are new for these ninth graders, and they can be nerve-wracking, so it’s understandable when students need reassurance. Fun thing: I’d taken a picture of a student’s outline on my phone because he was worried he’d lose it; he was frantic when he came in today because, well, he’d lost it, so I held up my phone and he shouted, “Oh, thank God!” I think he’d forgotten I’d taken the picture. 

Anyways, while they wrote/typed their essays, I walked around, fielded questions, offered encouragement, etc… I had one student whose average was juuuuust below passing, and he knew he needed to score high on the final, so I sat down and graded his essay as soon as he handed it in. I’m going to hang onto the memory of the smile that lit up his face when he realized he was going to make it. 

I’m going to hang on to a note from one of my A day students, too. Teachers are all familiar with a student like this; he was a fly-under-the-radar, “school isn’t my thing” kid whose grades were always fine, but never stellar, because fine didn’t take any effort. As the year went on, though, his grades went up, his participation in class increased, and by February or so there wasn’t a block that went by without him asking half a dozen questions about whatever we were discussing that day (he started saying “thank you” at the end of every class, too, which was lovely). The note he wrote was tiny, scrawled in the back of my yearbook: “thank you for teaching me the most this year.” 

This year has been HARD. That? Made it all worth it.

I graded today’s exams after lunch, and I actually finished all of them. So that’s it. Students have take their Block 5 exams tomorrow, but I don’t teach Block 5 classes, so I’m done. I submitted my grades before I left today. 

That wasn’t the end of my work day, though! I had to head to one of the elementary schools in the district for my first executive board meeting as a union rep. Not going to lie: I felt really out of my depth for most of the meeting- and I haven’t felt that way in my professional life in a long time- but I will learn. This is going to be quite an experience.

When students ask me to give them the answers …