Category: teacher appreciation

Day One Hundred Fifty-Eight

I asked my ninth graders to tell me what they think is important right now. These are their Multi-Genre Project topics:

Today they were supposed to come in with their research notes complete so that they could draft a works consulted page and complete a project outline. If they did that before class ended, they could start drafting their first pieces (expressive pieces). Classes were short today since it was a half day (teacher workshops in the afternoon), so that was a pretty perfect amount of work. One or two students are behind, but I’ll have them come see me next week during flex time; that ought to be enough to catch them back up. Generally, everyone is enthusiastic about their work,

In APUSGOV I lectured on state and local government, which is actually pretty unique in New Hampshire (citizen legislature, two-year terms for governors, an executive council and no lt. governor, town meetings, weak county governments….) And I got about half a dozen questions, which is awesome because it means my post-exam seniors are still curious. I like that. 

Also, I got interrupted mid-teach by our Teacher Education students, who have been doing fun things all week, came by to award “Teacher Superlatives,” as voted by the student body. I won “Most likely to win Jeopardy” because I am nerdy and encyclopedic (and a wizard).

I didn’t win “Most likely to win a rap battle,” though. Meh.

After students left the building, our administrators treated us to a fabulous lunch in the cafeteria to close out Teacher Appreciation Week. Then we had some PD on personalized learning, followed by some group work on QPAs. Mr. I was leading the PD, and at one point he was talking about how to teach students to curb their impulsiveness. I may or may not have smacked Mr. F in the arm to demonstrate an impulsive behavior. I’m helpful like that.

I work with serious, dedicated professionals. But, mostly, they’re also ridiculous like me. And that’s the best. 

Day One Hundred Fifty-Seven

This morning we all arrived for our morning PLC meetings and were treated to free breakfast from some local businesses: coffee, donuts, bagels, muffins… So that was delightful. 

And it’s good because there were parts of my day that were not delightful. Like, I had to contact the parents/guardians of students currently failing my class, had to write up a student for skipping my class, had to deal with an Incident… And, then, at practice, I didn’t have to kick a sprinter off the team, but the Head Coach did. 

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Practice was otherwise a blast, though, because it was obstacle course day. Coach K set up a truly excellent course this year, too: students ran, jumped, threw, climbed, etc… their way through it and were treated to Gatorade and goodies afterwards. Coach T was on the mic the whole time, and everyone was cheering one another on. So that was great.

And teaching went well today, too (aside from the one student cutting class, that is). It was another day of Multi-Genre Project research. What really made me happy was that so many kids, in addition to wanting me to check their notes, just wanted to talk to me about what they’d learned. They had so much to share. At first, I was in rush mode, just trying to check in with everyone, but I made myself slow down and enjoy the conversations I was having because they’re full of excitement about learning, and that’s awesome.

The day still feels like it was a bad one, but I’m trying to focus on the good parts of it because they deserve space in my brain. 

Day One Hundred Fifty-Six

C’mon. This is adorable:

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That was one of many Teacher Appreciation treats from today. I also got candy, cards, fun trivia games, and a big hug from a former student who’s home from college. I love my job without this stuff, but it’s all really sweet, and it makes me happy.

I had most of my APUSGOV students in class today- a handful were taking the AP Lit exam- so we cheered the fact that the exam was over, DID NOT DISCUSS IT, and launched into the final unit of the course: state and local government. There’s actually a state law governing at least some of what I teach in this unit, which was a fun fact to lead with. Once I went over the unit outline, I assigned the first reading: the NH state constitution. It’s kind of a beast, so I’ll lecture on the main points next class.

In World, students continued their Multi-Genre Project research, and some even started outlining and drafting, which is fantastic. I think the talks Mrs. T and I had about work ethic and utilizing class time have registered with them; so far, everyone is really engaged and enthusiastic. I’m getting great questions, as well. I’m just hoping they maintain this momentum through the whole project. 

Every year, there’s a topic or two that a lot of students choose for their projects. Last year it was gun violence because of Parkland and the subsequent shootings, and so far this year the popular topics all deal with science. Like, a bunch of girls in my Block 2 class are researching developments in medicine, and everything they’re discussing is wicked complex, so it’s really cool to listen in on their conversation. Pollution- particularly ocean pollution- is another popular topic because lots of students have seen images of those trash islands on the news. A bunch of my student-athletes chose doping in sports, too. Some of the stats on that are mind-blowing.

Practice was short today because we had a middle school meet to officiate, which we- us young assistant coaches and our athletes- did while wearing face paint in our school colors (because why wouldn’t we?) My sprinters ran 150m repeats, then we played a game of duck-duck-goose on the infield before the meet started. Yes, that’s actually a great game for sprinters to play, and it’s been a while since I’ve done it at a practice, so it had to happen. More fun will be had tomorrow!

Day One Hundred Fifty-Five

My day started off with a cupcake delivery from one of my ninth graders- in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week- which was unexpected and awesome. It totally made my morning.

It’s a B day in the schedule, so I introduced the multi-genre project again in World today. I wanted brainstorming topics to go well, so I appealed to my students’ competitiveness by telling them how many topics my classes yesterday had come up with (30-something). That definitely worked; my Block 2 class, which is my class of reluctant speakers, ended up coming up with 41 topics. 

And my Block 4 class- my most challenging class- came up with 57! 

They rocked and rolled on the research, too, and a bunch of kids wanted to tell me about what they’re planning to write. They’re so excited, and I love it. That’s how it should be.

A few of my Block 4 students and I also ended up having a conversation while they were working that went from very funny to very serious. See, during Teacher Appreciation Week our teacher prep students do all kinds of fun things, including teacher superlatives, and I told my students they should vote for me for “most like to win a rap battle” since I’m a slam poetry champ. They were like, “Yeah, but can you rap, though?” and I busted out a bit of “Guns and Ships” from Hamilton because, y’know, have to be Social Studies about it.

One of the girls told me, “Miss M, your superlative should be ‘most surprising’ because you’re, like, this nerdy teacher lady, but then you do karate, and track, and now you rap?!”

She added that her mom had been glad she was in my room during the lockdown– probably because of the karate- and the conversation shifted to that for a while. Students spoke about how scary it was, and whether or not they cried, and how glad they were that it was a false alarm (little did we know there would be another school shooting today…) I think they probably needed to talk about it because, even though it was months ago, it sticks, you know? 

I had a quick meeting with Mrs. J afterwords, followed by a house meeting. Then I had to go coach a track meet. It’s the last home meet of the season, so we honored our seniors beforehand, which was cool… It rained for a bit (of course), but then the sun came out, a rainbow appeared over the track, my sprinters absolutely crushed the 200m… Aaaaand I was probably too candid while talking to some parents about kids doing travel team/AAU/JO/whatever sports during track season because it’s a thing I have a very strong opinion about, but anyways…. Our team and the teams we were competing against all have traditions of doing the wave to cheer for 4×4 runners, so we were all infield at the end of the meet. 

And then we had a pizza party! Can’t go wrong with pizza, a pretty sunset, and the close of a great day.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Four

Today capped off Teacher Appreciation Week. Our teacher prep students (yes, we have a whole program complete with an on-site preschool and internships at all the district schools) have been doing little things like putting surprise candy in our mailboxes all week. Today they decorated the whole school with supportive signs and personal notes, so we walked into a celebration of us. That was fun. 

Then they came around during Block 3 to deliver awards to the winners of student-voted superlatives. Mrs. T and I won “Best Friends.” She also got “Best Dressed” (I’m told I was runner-up), and Mr. F won “Most Outgoing.” I heard them coming, so when they burst into my silent room (my students were writing essays) I got up and cheered right along with them. 

At lunch, I went down to their classroom because they had food for all of us, and it was fun to hang out there for a bit. 

I definitely feel appreciated. 

It’s Friday, so practice was quick: relay passes (soooo pretty) and grass strides. Tomorrow is the last meet of the regular season!

Day One Hundred Fifty-One

Today was fun. 

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and there was candy in the main office (in punny jars… like swedish fish in a jar labeled “o-FISH-ially awesome teachers!”), so I totally had candy for breakfast. And I got iced coffee from one of my former students! See, his dad0 who happens to be our school board chair- makes the best coffee, and I’d jokingly said he should bring me some, and he really did. That’s such a win. 

There were poster presentations in my World classes, which went super well. I’ll definitely keep this assessment for the future. The best thing that happened was totally unrelated, though: one of the boys told me that ever since we studied the war in Syria, he’s been paying attention, and he didn’t used to care, but he cares now. 

CUE THE MUSIC OF TRIUMPH!!!

We had a team meeting in the afternoon, followed by a faculty meeting, which I ducked out of early to go coach track. It was our last regular season home meet today, and it was the best. I mentioned over spring break that Mr. B’s son was diagnosed with cancer, and my team went to an ice cream fundraiser after a rainy practice because they have huge hearts. Today they all put on yellow ribbons to show support. It was a classy thing to do.

And it was our senior night! The underclassmen had made signs for each senior and hung them on the bleachers, and we had a little ceremony before the meet started… Then the meet itself was awesome: sunshine, PRs, good sportsmanship, and me getting to watch both my 4×1 teams finally PR. At the end of the meet, in what has become tradition, the seniors took the school flag around the track for one final lap with The Head Coach, and then we all went to eat cake.

It’s emotional, for sure, but the primary emotion? Joy.