Category: teacher

Day One Hundred Forty-Three

So I went from being hot mess to teaching ninja in a 24-hour span. Like, yesterday I felt like I could hardly make words come out of my mouth in a coherent order, but today I was on fire. 


What’s hilarious is that I was mostly winging it.

Last class, my World students examined different things (a Powerpoint, a National Geographic documentary, and two readings) in order to learn how decades of destruction have impacted Afghanistan. I knew I wanted them to use that information to talk about the current war, but I didn’t decide exactly what I was going to do until about ten minutes before my first class started. 

First, I had students get in small groups to compare their findings on their assignments. Then, as a class, we discussed the living conditions in Afghanistan at the start of the US invasion, and the US efforts to improve those conditions as part of counterinsurgency. I fielded some great questions about why the results of those efforts have been so mixed. I told Laura’s story, too, as I do every year because it highlights how fragile the situation is. and by the time we finished chatting, students really understood why the country’s instability is prolonging the conflict- and how hard it is to make an unstable place stable again. 

We also discussed ways in which the situation in Afghanistan is a destabilizing force in Pakistan. I showed a quick news report about the Pakistani Taliban, and my sharp-eyed students observed a significant difference in development in the western regions where the Taliban have entrenched themselves and the eastern regions they often target. There are massive and unfortunate inequities, and when my students asked why, I told them that would be our next lesson. 

Stay tuned till after spring break, kids… 

It was a GOOD class both blocks. I’m so pleased.

And I’m pleased that my candidate visit went smoothly during Block 5! Remember I was worried no one would show up because I had to reschedule it after the snow day? Most of my APUSGOV students were able to make it, and they brought friends, so we had a full room. And they had a lot to say, so it was brilliant! One thing I love is that a sophomore who was in World last year was bitten by the political bug this year, so she joins this room full of seniors engaging in complex, political conversations with the candidates, and she gets right in the middle of them, too. It’s so cool to watch. 

Eighty minutes of Q&A later, the afternoon bell rang; they may have kept going if it hadn’t. The candidate was so complimentary of the students- as he should be, they’re amazing- and so glad he’d gotten to talk to them because they give him hope for the future. I said that’s what’s so great about seeing them every day. It’s good for the soul.

When administration makes a suggestion that wi…


Day One Hundred Forty-Two

Student A: Why are Pope names so boring? 
Student B: They’re saint names and stuff. 
Student A: If I was Pope, I’d choose a name that stands out. Like Glamorous. Pope Glamorous I. 

I have no idea why my APUSGOV students were discussing Pope names, but that’s what I walked in on before the morning bell. It was good to have something to laugh at because otherwise I was just a hot mess this morning. 

Seriously, I don’t even know what was wrong with me, but I could not get it together. I burned my fingers, I tripped on the stairs, I put my car in reverse instead of drive when I headed to work (Luckily, I didn’t hit anything!)… And then, in APUSGOV, I just felt so scattered. My students took an FRQ quiz and I assigned a project, and it was all fine, but I couldn’t shake that feeling.

World was a lot better. I was clearer with the instructions for the Afghanistan assignments than I was yesterday; I took up less time, and fine-tuned how I explained the objectives of the work. So that’s good.

I spent my prep time doing scholarship recs because tis the season. Unfortunately, it’s not yet the season for warm weather, so it was another cold day on the track. My sprinters said they, too, were all discombobulated today- nice to know I wasn’t the only one- and blamed the weather. But we made the best of it. We always do!

When one student does the work in a group proj…

Day One Hundred Forty-One

Today there was a letter in the local paper accusing all teachers and students of leading a violent communist insurrection, which… cmon. I’m not that ambitious before my morning coffee. 


The snow day left me- and most other people- a bit discombobulated. I spent most of my Block 1 prep time rewriting lesson plans, bugging Mrs. T with questions, and apologetically asking congressional candidates who were scheduled to visit APUSGOV to reschedule (the downside of A/B Block). They were all very nice, but I had one candidate scheduled for Thursday, so it’s too late to change the date. They did change times to Block 5 when a lot of my seniors have study hall, but I’m still low-key freaking out that no one will attend. 

I had my World lesson all set and ready to go, so I didn’t have to prep a ton for that. It’s an “at your own pace” lesson on modern history in Afghanistan. Students had to examine a Powerpoint full of images from 1960-2001, a National Geographic documentary on the civil war and rise of the Taliban (which they watched on laptops with headphones), and two readings on the US war. Students could work alone or with others, and anything they didn’t finish in class is homework to finish. The goal is understanding the impact of decades of war on Afghan culture, which is what we’ll discuss next class. 

I was supposed to have a track meet this afternoon, but it’s still icy and rainy, so that got canceled. That meant I could run our team meeting Block 5. It was quick: reminders to finish grades (quarter three is over!!!), submit PD hours, etc… That was it. Afterwards, Mr. L and I finished the final paper we had to do for our CBE course. We finished right at the bell, and we feel accomplished. Woohoo!

When I’m told my classroom is a mess

I try to reason with them like:

When class size is small and I am able to actu…

Snow Day

In mid-April. We are never getting summer vacation…

When I’m working on the weekend and I see peop…

Whenever there’s an announcement about an even…

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