Day 27 of 180 2016-2017

Okay, so I was doing well with Read180, but now I’m overwhelmed.  I’m watching what is going on and seeing where my mistakes are but now I need to be able to plan better than I am.

I need to: switch up the small groups; do a group lesson on the point of Read180; explain the goal; explain what needs to happen to get out of class; separate all the pairs of friends; create seating charts for both small groups and while they are on the computers (the computers!!!!), plan better whole group lessons; try not to beat my head against a wall.

Also, I need to grade like a wild thing. Maybe at home tonight, I’ll have a me, my headphones, and my desk night.  That does not sound enjoyable.  And it isolates me from the wife.  Sometimes a teacher’s work is never done.


Day 20 of 180 2016-2017

Today was the first day it was cold enough to feel like Fall was officially here and winter was officially on it’s way.  It’ll get warm again, I’m sure, but for today it was chilly.  I ordered a pumpkin spice iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.  (My first of the Basic White Girl season.)

Today I’m having students practice public speaking; 90 seconds in front of the class talking about themselves.  Some of the students have enjoyed it, but others told me they almost peed themselves.  So far everyone has done it.  Hands out for public speaking is going on my list of lesson supplements to put on my TeachersPayTeachers store.

For now, I have to grade open responses.


Day 17 of 180 2016-17

Tomorrow is day 18, which means a tenth of our year will officially be in the books.  For us, that means that progress reports are due.  It’s bizarre.  This one comes so early.  I always think it should be:

  • 180 days = year ends
  • 90 days = semesters end
  • 45 days = quarters end
  • 22 or 23 days = progress reports end

Maybe it’s done differently because of a concern about snow days later in the year?  Maybe there is logic at work that I don’t understand as a teacher of ELA?  Maybe something else entirely?  The world is full of too many maybes for me to understand.

What is helping me to understand life better is continuing to use my bullet journal, now in a Traveler’s Notebook, to organize my thoughts.  It’s helping me keep much better track of my notes this year.  Plus, because a TN uses inserts, while I continue to use the index concept of a Bullet Journal, I can also separate my thoughts into different types.  For me, this is HUGE.

Read 180 and Enrichment continue marching ever forward.  All I need is a desk, and life will be good.

Day 10 of 180 2016-17

Today is day 10.  1/18th down.  I’m surprised by how much I’m going to like teaching Read180.  People told me it was super prescribed and left no room for originality, but that is not the case.  The students and I give it originality every day.  Neither of my classes are alike.  Their personalities change the way I teach whole group and small group lessons.  What they get through on the computer changes them.  While the stations are clearly defined, that’s the least of what they should be doing.  I’m enjoying it.

My 10th graders are working in groups on posters that advertise their shops.  It’s cute.  They’ve all got serious opinions on what is important, and it’s nice to see them so passionately focused on their work.  I’ll post pictures of the posters once the kids have presented on them.

Day 2 of 180 2016-17

Class 6: Same class as class 3, but different students.  More students.  I liked it.  I think there’s potential there.  We’re watching a TED talk today on humor and insults in culture.  We’ll see how it goes.  Fingers crossed.

Class 2 actually had 1 student show up, so that’s something.  But still, only 1.  And class 3 had three, but one transferred out and another one wants to do so also.  The third wants to remain there.  He’s one of my former students from a different ELA class, and I think that I could do a lot of good work 1:1 with him.

I’ve seen lots of students and all of them are glad to know where the new room is.  It’s sweet.  Goal for the year: remain positive.

Day 1 of 180 2016-17

Welcome back all you playing along with the home edition.  New year, new home base, lots of rooms, and we’ll figure it out from there.  I’m remaining positive, but I’m clearly anxious.  Apparently, even when I’m amused, people want to fix it for me.  (Whatever it may be.)  There aren’t enough ways to say, “Way above your pay grade, Buddy!” because inevitably, that’s a true statement.

Class 1: 16 of 26 showed up.  Starting class tomorrow and trying again.

Class 2: 0 of 2 showed up.  But 2 showed up who weren’t supposed to be in the class, but were scheduled into this room.

Class 3: 3 of 3 showed up.  But 1 left to transfer out, so, huh.

Class 4: All but 3 showed up, so that was mostly victorious!  A lot of the students have big personalities, but fortunately I knew them last year.

Class 5: None of my students have shown up.  They were all told they were to go to C211.  Meanwhile, my schedule says F230.  The class ends shortly.

Day 24/24 – Summer School Edition!

And we’re done!  Twenty four days in the bag.  I’ll tell my truth:  I miss kids like this.  I do.  I like my regular year students, don’t get me wrong, but I miss kids like this.  I miss kids who are honest about their bads, worse, and their goods.  I miss ones who make me cry but still challenge me.

I think I checked out for some of the regular year; threw in the towel, phoned it in, whatever you want to call it.  There was something in me that felt dead this year.  It was a disservice to my students, and to myself.  I need to change that next year, or I need to look for a new job.  Hopefully, these 5 weeks somewhere else will rejuvenate me enough to make it through this school year.

My second truth:  unless there is a miracle this year, I’ll be placing transfer papers in April.

Day 5/24 – Summer School Edition

8:01 on a rainy Tuesday morning after having Monday off.  No students in the room.  One student in the other classroom.  Not the most auspicious beginning, but my guess is that it’s a bit crazy because other students are starting “regular” summer school today.  (As opposed to intensive summer school, like these kidlets.)

I fear I may have become soft in my years away from NEARI.  I’m not as thick-skinned as I was after 8.5 years there.  That’s neither good nor bad, just an observation.  I continue to find that I am horrified by the experiences that kids have outside of the classroom.

Kids shouldn’t be able to make statements about how whenever they get picked up, they always are given to Officers XXX and YYY because they know them best.  How many times are you getting picked up to know this?  One of the other students talked about selling drugs for her parents.  Why are parents involving their kids in this?

These kids need so much more than a Common Core based education.  They need love, guidance, mental health support, physical health support.  How do they get to knowing the parts of an Open Response without those things first?

Day 2/24 – Summer School Edition

I’m teaching not at my school, but a different school for the summer.  It’s in a program for student who failed three out of 4 major subjects in ninth grade.  The school is trying to figure out if these students will make it to the next grade.  Right now, I’m not sure that it will happen.

There are kids who are chronically “sick” (though I’m thinking it could be anxiety or crappy home lives)  who need to sleep and aren’t completing work.  There are two kids who I’m fairly certain are high as EFF, and came in to get breakfast cause they had the munchies.

The real issue, as I’m seeing it, is that these students don’t know how to be students.  Come to class: do your work; don’t talk on the phone IN CLASS; heck, don’t have the phone in class; don’t talk over your teacher giving instructions; complete your work.  I think that my next 22 days (after they finish the pre-test today) will be working with these students on how to be students, not as much on what they need to complete academically.  My guess is that the latter begets the former.


Day 180 of 180!

Today is the day!  180 of 180!  I can’t believe my original babies (the class of 2016) has graduated.  I can’t believe I’ve now completed my 4th year here.  I’ve been here approximately half as long as I was at NEARI.  That’s pretty hard to comprehend.

Yesterday there were 3 students in my first class.  I’m thinking 1 today.  Weird district fact:  grades closed on Thursday of last week.  I wouldn’t have shown up after Friday, and if I checked with all my teachers and knew my grades were set?  I’d have left at the half way point.  True story.

Summer school starts for me on Monday.  I’ll do a week over at the high school next to where I work during the school year.  Most of my night school students came from there.  It will be different, but a good perspective for me.

Day 1 of 25 will start soon enough 🙂