Saturday, August 22, 2009

Week 2 in Review

“To teach is to learn twice.”
-Joseph Joubert

This week was full of quizzes and worksheets, tissues and cough drops. It was a rough week. Mostly because I wasn't feeling at my best. I was giving everything I had, plus some, but with a weak immune system and the first cold of the season--that probably wasn't exactly 100%.

The Middle School is piloting a new program to encourage students to turn their work in on time--they basically receive a lunch detention, or with a positive spin: a "working lunch-- until they turn the assignment in. The first day our team had thirty kids stay for "Lunch and Learn." While good in theory, it just adds one more thing I have to keep track of and one more thing I have to organize at the end of the day. And, I haven't quite figured out how to do it efficiently yet.

I gave my first quiz on Monday, and I was quite disappointed with the results. Although the percentages weren't terrible--most of the students could have (and should have) done better. For goodness' sakes this is a review chapter--things they should have learned and used for two years--and stuff that's really not scheduled in the curriculum. I would need triple the time to actually teach the concepts from scratch. The unit test will be on Monday, so everybody keep your fingers crossed.

I have one class, in particular, that is much slower than the others. Their math foundational skills just simply aren't there, and they're too immature to listen as I explain new (or old) concepts. I admit, I'm lost with them. How much do I stop to review? Is it ok to skip the "fun" activities because I simply need the time to explain and practice with them? We're always running out of time. I want them to do the hands-on activities, but they won't listen to the instructions enough to understand what I want them to do. We've had three activities totally bomb so far--activities that the other classes could do without any trouble. I'm pulling my hair out by the end of each class. Thank goodness the rest of my classes go relatively smoothly.

We've had several students get their schedules changed and be pulled out of our team this week. Some because they need the resources from a Collab team (we don't have any inclusion teachers assigned to our team), but (I heard it through the grapevine) some because of one of the other teachers on our team. That's really a shame. And, I hate it for my kids--that they have to sit through a class where the teacher has no relationship with the students and hardly a commitment to her job.

We started pulling permanent records for students this week to see what skeletons they have hidden (or not so hidden) in their proverbial closets. It's awfully eye-opening to hear about students who no longer live with their parents, whose parents ignore recommendations for assistance, or who spent half of last year out of school because his family was homeless. Makes me thankful for my relatively stable family. And makes me hope that perhaps I can be that source of stability and dare I say it... love... that so many of my students long for.

I lost my classroom key on Thursday morning. Sometime between 8:00 and 8:30 am. Somewhere between the Red Hall, the Yellow Hall, and the Activity Room. For someone who usually has it "together" pretty well, I often do stupid things like this. However, the next day someone found it in the Activity Room, where I had my first school picture as a teacher taken. Hooray!

That leads me to the highlight of my week... on Friday when I took my homeroom class to get their photos made, one of the PTA mothers introduced herself as Jasmyne's mom. After confirming which Jasmyne she was talking about (I teach 2 Jasmynes, 2 Ashleys, 2 Brians, 2 Jennys, 3 Briannas, and 6 Joshuas), she told me that Jasmyne loves my class! Apparently she has had a string of bad math teachers, and this year she comes home each day talking about the cool things we did in math. Although my body and soul are tired this weekend, that's just the prescription I needed to get pumped up for the week to come.

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