Category: education

Day Sixty-Nine

Well. Today there was an Incident. It was the kind that involved the SRO, The Principal, and a bunch of paperwork. Sooooo that was not fun. 

I am okay, though, and lots of my friends came by to make sure of it.

And, other than that, the day was actually really good. APUSGOV was nice and easy. We had to take five to talk about how frigid it was outside. Then we watched an episode of The West Wing (”The Short List”) and talked about it. After that, we read Article II of the Constitution, and had a little chat about what’s coming up between now and vacation. I also handed back drafts of research papers, so a few students came in during flex time to edit and revise. Gotta love that initiative! Final drafts are due next class.

The aforementioned Incident happened during World/English. If not for that, it would have been a completely awesome class. Our students did SUCH good work. The little things Mrs. T and I have been doing- dividing the double block into work/break time, doing daily goal-setting, etc…- have been helping a lot. The classroom environment and the work completion are so much better. A few of the girls actually came up to me just to let me know how much they appreciated it.

I also got a bunch of compliments on my hair (it was fancy and braided, and usually it’s just in a bun or a ponytail), my dress and boots, and my shiny unicorn nail polish

Ninth grade girls are the best.

I observed Ms. J’s American Lit. class during Block Five. They’re preparing for a debate, and I love debates, so I enjoyed that a lot. Plus, it was a really well-planned lesson. She’s doing super well.

There was a faculty meeting that ran long in the afternoon. I spent most of it cracking jokes to make Mr. T and Mr. I laugh. I had to go back to my room to finish up some grading, but I was done before five, so I wasn’t the last person to leave today! Woohoo!

When another teacher tells me how their classe…

Day Sixty-Eight

Mr. F and I were supposed to go to an IEP meeting this morning, but it got rescheduled, so we were able to go to the prep room, grab the cinnamon rolls Mrs. T made, and grade papers and stuff. 

World/English started smoothly. It was day two of introducing the research project, giving public speaking pointers, and laying down the law about being able to choose seats, etc… About twenty minutes in, Mrs. T got a call to pick her son up from preschool because he had a fever, so I was left alone in the Cavern. I hate to admit it was frustrating because, obviously, she had to go… But, yeah, it was a little frustrating in the moment. When there are two of us, one can handle the particularly needy and/or disruptive students while the other handles everyone else; it’s exhausting to do it solo. 

But, again, nothing for it. I survived.

I did end up assigning seats, though. The class couldn’t even manage five minutes of quiet work time in the seats they chose (yes, I was timing). When I told them that, and pointed out that I’d warned them repeatedly to stop talking and focus on their work, there was a general acknowledgement that my assigning seats was a reasonable move. 

It was mostly quiet and productive after that.

I saw some cool projects coming together. Topics include the Biafran War, Nelson Mandela, refugee camps in Kenya, the rehabilitation of child soldiers, the hunt for Joseph Kony… It’s all big stuff these students knew little or nothing about prior to ninth grade, and I’m hoping their presentations will be really eye-opening by the time we’re through.

I spent Block Five editing APUSGOV papers, mostly, but I did take a break to talk to Mr. F, Ms. N, Mrs. R, and The Vice Principal about how hard this year is. I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling that way. 

At practice, The Head Coach had me take the sprinters to do starting blocks, which was fun, and it’s something I pride myself on doing well. I spent some time after practice finishing those APUSGOV papers, so my car was all alone in the parking lot when I left. 

Onward…

When I try to leave the school immediately aft…

When I try to convince students to get down to…

They’re like:

When students try to make it seem like they’re…

image

Day Sixty-Seven

Most of my APUSGOV students came in tired. It’s the end of a tough week: lots of homework (research papers for me), grueling winter sports practices, and everything that happened Wednesday. I was tired, too. 

Luckily, it was a light class. I wrapped up some info about impeachment (spillover from last class), then lectured on “advice and consent of the senate.” It’s easy enough to grasp. 

Also, we had cupcakes. 

Last year, my brilliant little class decided that when the government shuts down, we should eat cake (because if you can’t have a government, you should at least have a cake). That tradition evolved to include eating almost cake (cupcakes) when the government almost shuts down. Congress managed to kick the budget battle down a few weeks, so. Cupcakes. 

In World/English, Mrs. T and I introduced the second part of The Epic Africa Book Paper and Research Project: choosing a topic the book they just read (ie- apartheid, if the student read Born a Crime or Invictus), researching it further, and putting together a multi-media presentation. 

We let students pick their own seats with the warning that we would assign them again if it got rowdy. I got my stopwatch out for work time, break time; and I specified how much research should be done by the end of the double block (notes and citations for at least two sources). Needing to provide that much structure is an adjustment, but our students are benefitting from it it, so we’re okay with that.

I spent my prep time going over the upcoming classes with Mrs. T, modifying assignments for a particular student, and grading some book papers. Then I went and inflicted my evil interval workout (the one that earned me the nickname “Satan”) on my sprinters. 

After that, I made myself presentable for a holiday dinner party. I find myself talking about teaching a lot at parties, and this one was no exception. People just have lots of questions about the profession- and, since I teach government and politics, there are even more questions! I certainly don’t mind, though. I love what I do, so I’m happy to talk about it.

what do you think a good gift for a teacher is…

what do you think a good gift for a teacher is?

Coffee and chocolate, if that teacher is me… I think it’s sweet to get any gift, though.

When students walk into class and see there is…

Day Sixty-Six

Today was significantly less dramatic than yesterday. 

We spent the morning meeting working on the NEASC self-study (and drinking lots of coffee because maaaaybe none of us slept well). I ran into the SRO afterwards and thanked him again for doing a damn good job. 

I had a meeting with Mr. W during Block One; he wanted my help drafting a course proposal for the program of studies, and I was happy to lend my writing skills. After that, I was able to do some lesson prep for APUSGOV, but I didn’t quite finish before the bell. I ended up doing the rest after school.

World/English was really good. It was the last day allotted for work on book papers, so Mrs. T and I were both very busy helping students write conclusions, giving drafts one last edit, answering citation questions, and so on. I broke the block up into work time and break time like I did last class, and it went so well. I did hold two students for lunch detention for being disruptive during work time (they could choose lunch or after school), but hopefully I won’t have to do that in the future. 

Also, I didn’t raise my voice. After last class, I asked myself why I was doing it if I didn’t want to; I realized that I may not be able to change my challenging student’s behavior, but I can change mine. So no more raised voice, I’m done yelling. 

That’s who I want to be.

Most students worked right up to the bell, but they did it. This was a really hard assignment, so it’s awesome that they persevered and succeeded. We were delighted by the big smiles, sighs of relief, and proudly flourished papers. 

One boy asked if he could cheer.

Heck yes.