I know that it has been AGES since I’ve posted. I’m sure (at least, I’m hoping) you all wondered what happened to me. How my first year has been going.
We’re almost done w/ second quarter. In the block scheduling my school has, that means, essentially, I’ve taught a “year” of junior English. Yeah, right. This “year”, compared to my junior year, I feel like I’ve accomplished not much, academic-wise. We managed to read The Crucible, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird and then do their junior research paper. Not in that order however. First quarter we also did some short stories and poems. However, all the big grand ideas I had about what I would teach and how much we would get through — OUT THE WINDOW.
As my friend Samwise puts it (he’s a new teacher in the district also, at a different high school), we’re selling something they just aren’t interested in buying.
Now, that’s not to say I haven’t had victories, because I have. And, for being a first-year teacher, I feel like I’m doing the best I can. But, at the same time I’m frustrated. My junior year we read Scarlet Letter, Civil Disobedience (excerpt), Huck Finn, Separate Peace, My Antonia, Farewell to Arms, To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath and at least one other book. That’s NINE books, compared to the three I got my students to go through.
I know that I have a lot to learn about being a teacher. One of those things is TRULY accepting that students today, particularly students in my urban high school, are NOT students like me and my classmates in the mid 90s in smalltownsville. Not at all, at least, academically.
Other things I need to learn
1) Organization (it’s getting better, but…)
2) Being able to break down the big idea into concrete parts
3) Planning ahead (part of #1)
4) How much explanation and modeling today’s students need
5) How to clean my desk
Right now, I’m avoiding doing any school related work for the evening. I know tomorrow I have to hit the grindstone hard (I have to find all my lesson plans for the semester & make sure I have them typed up, then look them over & see what I need to tweak for next quarter. I have 2 sections of English 5 and one section of English 6 (or maybe the other way around), and I need to seriously re-do everything I did the first time around for that damn research paper (in E6). That f$&%er almost swallowed me alive!) AND I need to figure out what my students are doing W, TH, F and then the four days we have left in the quarter when we get back from holiday break (dumb, eh?)
I hope everyone else has had a good year so far. I look forward to catching up on people’s blogs over break, when I’m not packing to move into my new apartment!