Day 95 of 180

Why is it that some classes are so much more challenging than others, especially when doing the same work and when the classes should be approximately the same student make-up?  I had one of those poor timing moments when one lesson lasted the whole class period, and then I did it the next period and they were done about ten minutes earlier.  I didn’t review their work at the end of class, but I suspect (as the second class is directly before lunch) that the students didn’t do as much work.  I could be wrong, but I’m going to put my money on it.

In other news I ran into a co-worker in the hall today, and it’s one of the first times that we’ve actually been able to talk.  It’s such a shame that we don’t get time to collaborate.  I hope we get some soon!  We have a Professional Day (PD day? Professional day day? Anyway, I digress.) and I’m hoping that will give departments time to co-plan or even just discuss how our year is going.  It’s critical to our students and to us for us to have this time.  I can’t express that enough.

At our school, the first Tuesday of each month is supposed to be a faculty meeting.  The third Tuesday is supposed to be a department meeting.  We keep having our department meetings usurped for “brief” faculty meetings that go on for far too long, and, in the way of so many meetings, could have been an email.  While I can appreciate the point of faculty meetings in that they keep us all informed at the same time, department meetings mean so much more.  Bonding, growing, stretching and teaming are critical.  I wish we had more time.

Day 46 of 180

Had all day, all staff PD on Tuesday.  On the downside, this means today is only day 46 and not 47, on the plus side, it means today is only day 46 and not 47.  In the middle of PD I was so angry.  I didn’t understand why we were all suffering through this CRAP.  What was the point?  Why should we care?  Etc. Etc. Etc.

Part of that, no doubt, has been my negativity about my school in general.  Another part came from – once again – getting conflicting messages about what we’re supposed to be doing.  The last part definitely came from my colleagues.  What is it about being in PD that makes teachers want to prove their smarter than the presenters, and want to attack them?

However, it’s a new day and I have a new outlook.  I’m trying to remain positive, because the truth is always that I love my students and they deserve me to be in as good a space as possible.  So I tried some new group work patterns and roles today.  It was … clunky … at best, but hopeful.

I love to see that my groups all want to support each other, but I want them to be honest in their reviews of each other.  That honesty is what will help them grow.  Instead, every single student said that everyone in their group did WONDERFUL, PERFECT, A PLUS PLUS PLUS work.  Uhhh, sure they did.  That’s why you were complaining to me about so-and-so not working the day before.

I got around some of that by having them reflect individually in their notebooks, but we’ll see.  I might have to change up the rubric to have more specific questions, or make each student fill out the rubric for homework and return it.  Maybe the fear was that someone else would see it and have their feelings hurt?  Silly sensitive students and their silly sweetness!