Mea culpa: I have been away for a while.
Much has been going on, namely the start of the school year. It has begun with a bang-chug-bang-chug-cluster-fuck-backfire-bang. My daily vernacular includes Moodle, Gaggle, Wiki, OWA, Outlook, zz-trouble, zz-SciTech, PowerPoint, projector, Advisory, Activity, yadda, yadda, yadda...
I could go on forever.
It feels great to be working again, but I'm working as hard as I was my very first year of teaching. And it is exhausting. It's not that I've forgotten to teach over this past year, it's that there's a new curriculum to get used to. And not only is the curriculum a bit of a challenge, it's what THEY like to call a managed curriculum. It's all housed on the Wiki (don't ask), and I'm constantly going back and forth from the Wiki to my actual notes to make sure I'm not eternally screwing up the screwballs in class. I'm used to figuring things out on my own and this has been quite a change for me. What has also been an issue is that this so-called managed curriculum is not exactly what I would normally do. Um, it's uh, kinda boring. Parts of it anyhow. The problem is whoever wrote it was clearly in love with English and learning in general. While that's all well and good, the kids who normally walk into my classroom aren't exactly drooling at the thought of reading and writing. The curriculum dictates that we basically beat a dead horse. There are TOO MANY activities related to each piece of text. I mean really, do we have to reread each text 4 or 5 times? I'm an adult, I'm an educated person, AND I'm and English teacher and I STILL WOULDN'T want to read something four times.
So, I'm going to take what I think will work to keep my students engaged and just leave the rest.
I'm going to trust myself.
My students for the most part are great! There are many of which who are begging to be challenged, and there are a some who are content to be where they are - they're probably pretty good students - but they're not super standouts. There are though a small handful who are in WAY over their heads. Yikes. What I'm starting to understand is that these particular students are at our school because someone in charge of them tried to make a very good decision about where they wanted their kid to go to school, but said kid is not prepared to do the work. Beyond this, there are some cultural interferences and general attitudes in class. Some still think they're at their old school where things like talking back and general disrespect will be tolerated.
They're in for a rude awakening.
My thoughts on these challenging students:
- Natural Selection will take effect over the course of the year.
- Students who can hang, will stick with the program.
- Some will fail themselves out.
- Others will decide the work is to difficult and go back to their feeder school.
Out of 75 students (yeah, a slightly smaller scale than my usual 165+ back at good old THS) I've got about 10 who I could probably do without. Given the numbers, I think having 80% of my class roster on board is pretty damn good!! And the slackers, those 10, are relatively harmless. They're either lumps who are in need of bibs, or they're so caught up in their own attitudes that they exhaust more effort trying to look cool than they do getting work done. Time will take care of them.
I fear not. I'm going to push my kids super hard. I want the weeds - weeded. Peace out suckers. If you can't hang, then leave. Give your position to someone on the list who actually WANTS to be at this school.
Do you know we actually had a student drop out of our school because she didn't like the dress code? Seriously. And she wants to be a Doctor. Don't Doctor's wear coats? Idiot. To top it off, her feeder high school (where she'll return on Monday) isn't exactly producing top notch scholars. Let's just leave it at that.
Besides the kids, my coworkers continue to be a source of good fun. We had our first after-school happy hour yesterday and I laughed so hard my belly still hurts today.
September is just going to be a month where a bunch of crap gets interrupted, goes wrong, and gets worked out. We're a new school with plenty 'o loose ends to figure out and tie up.
My prediction: come November the cogs will be running a lot more efficiently.
And perhaps by the second semester I'll hit my stride.
And I've decided to be okay with that.
AND, thank god for the G20 Summit. Because the 'burgh is hosting, school will be out from mid-day Wednesday Sept. 23 through Fri. Sept. 25...AND...the following Monday is a Jewish holiday which we observe. Nice.