Sep 30, 2010

Week 5 Timeline

I'm considering updating supteach with posts similar to those I did on my first teacher blog. The reflections are therapeutic, as is the feedback. They keep me centered and remind me of why I'm here, especially on weeks when I'm dragging my heels.

So, here goes:

Weeks 1 through 4 were honeymoonish. I still smell "special" in the air now that I'm in week 5. The students have entered their "let's see what I can get away with" phase and this is manifested so clearly in other classes. Nightmare stories are being exchanged about how student A did so-and-so to student B. Or how student C said this and that when all I was trying to do was teach!

Students A, B, and C through even Z have thus far been fine in my classes. I'm happy. But, we're walking through a new zone of the school year where math deficiencies become relevant. I start to see students who, in their first year of high school, still have difficulty following the order of operations. I have students who still use fingers to add.

I gave my first progress reports today. No doubt, I had several kids angry and wondering what they could do to raise their grades. It's no longer about school, learning, and getting to know each other. Grades have come in the picture. When that happens, the ball game changes. After explaining to them how to read my progress reports, I had to show them a happy video. Perfect timing, I'd say. I needed to make sure all kids were still capable of smiling.

Anyway, I'm beginning to feel the monotony that is learning math "the traditional way." Teach something, practice something, review something, quiz. I mix in the fun stuff on a daily basis, sure. But I must begin contemplating more groupwork, more projects, and more real-world application so that this algebra and geometry is not so abstract. Any ideas, teacher friends? HELP ME!

Also, back-to-school night happened last night. It's become an experience that's transformed form something queasy to something enjoyable. I called all my advisees' parents during the day. I'm proud to say I spoke to several in Spanish... which reminds me of a story I must share at a later time. I love meeting parents. I love meeting siblings. I love shaking their hands and I love learning of my students' home lives.

There's so many stories to be told. Week 5. Marking period 6 coming to a close next week. Onward we go.

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