New Teacher Training Day 2

So today was supposed to be spent discussing and working through the PLC (Professional Learning Communities) format by subject. We did a two hour overview this morning but then we were supposed to be separated by subject and grade level. The overview session was really interesting and went pretty quickly but then we separated into our groups. To begin with they had all the high school teachers in one room instead of separating us by grade level. Our deans of instruction weren’t really prepared because they didn’t even realize that we had all been intentionally locked out of our grade book software. I was unimpressed that they were so unknowledgeable and unprepared to help us. I wasn’t looking forward to spending the whole day discussing PLC but at the same time I also didn’t intend on having my time wasted. After the grade book issue they let us go ahead and go to the high school to get our room keys and check out our rooms. Of course I got my key yesterday and my room is almost done because of the work I put in last week. So basically from 11am until 1 am I had nothing to do. I hadn’t brought the rest of the stuff for my room because we were supposed to be on the other campus all day. Then we met with our principal at 1pm and he only talked with us for about 30 minutes and then we were given more time in our rooms. I honestly felt like everything after the first session this morning was a complete waste of time. I completely understand why we do teacher in-service but I would prefer them to respect my time and communicate effectively enough that I can make plans. Today was a waste for me and now tomorrow is convocation. I know that tomorrow will be really crazy because all the regular teachers start back tomorrow.

New Teacher Training Day 1

So today I started EDIT which is my new district’s version of new teacher training. It may come as a surprise to those in other professions but when you go from one job to another in the education field you are required to attend new teacher training. As far as training goes it went pretty smoothly. I got my picture taken for my ID, got my room keys today, and I even got my teacher chrome book. Needless to say I am off to a pretty good start since I took the initiative and spent one day last week working on my room. My room is almost complete and I am feeling pretty good about my abilities after watching all the brand new teachers today. I had forgotten what it was like to be completely new to the profession. Being around a bunch of new teachers made me feel extremely lucky to be in my position because although I am teaching two new subjects this year, I know how to teach. Tomorrow we are slated to spend the majority of the day working in our PLC’s which should be interesting and on Wednesday the whole staff joins the mix. So far I feel like my twelfth year is off to a pretty good start.

New Job

So I wasn’t necessarily looking for a new job but my boyfriend convinced me to apply in his district because they had some openings that would allow me to teach Pre-Ap students rather than the lower level students I have been teaching for the last year. I have wanted to teach higher level students for a long time but I haven’t had the opportunity. I had an interview with the principal and administrators at the regular high school and although it was a good interview I didn’t hear anything from them. The same day as my first interview I also met the principal of their Early College Program. He also wanted to talk to me about a job so we set up an interview for a couple of days later. The second interview went even better than the first and the principal told me at the end of the interview that he was really interested in me. Several hours later he called me and offered me the job. I am actually really excited because it means that I will not only get to teach higher level students next year, but I will also be switching from English to History. I will now be teaching World Geography and World History. I have never taught either of these subjects but I am thoroughly excited about the new challenge.

My only concern right now is that in order to sign my new contract I have to resign from my current job. I’ll admit I have never had to do that before and I am a bit nervous about it. I think that everything will be fine but it is still a bit scary.

Research Projects

One of my least favorite things to teach is research. Students just don’t really get it and they are completely bored by it most of the time. It is especially hard with freshman which is why we are doing a very abbreviated project this year. I pulled the research articles myself and I am having them fill out a guide that I created and then create a storyboard using the information from their guides. It is a completely different way to do the project but I am honestly very excited about it. The project itself is pretty simple and if the kids will try I think they may enjoy it.

Storyboard Sample

Of course to be honest I think they have gone off their rockers.  The number of fights and such that have been going on at school lately have been insane. We have 11 days of school left and I have four students at DAEP. It is ridiculous that I have that many students that are ending the year with a discipline assignment. Most of them will have to start next year over there too. I know it is hard to focus at the end of school but I have never had students treat me the way I have been treated this year. It seems like my students either love me or hate me. The ones that hate me are vicious. I know that their behavior will eventually catch up with them but I am so ready for this group of freshman to move on.

Only Three More Weeks of School

This week was utterly crazy in the classroom. We have had so many fights within in classes and then there are all the random behavior issues. I honestly can’t believe how bad it is when we still have so many weeks left. I think my only saving grace this week is the fact that we finished reading Anthem and next week we start our research project. I am looking forward to starting something new because the last few weeks have been pretty bad.

The one sad thing about being so close to the end of school is that my daughter will be graduating in three weeks too. I am really not looking forward to having a high school graduate. I am excited for her future but it has all happened so fast. Sometimes when I think about her I remember all the times I braided her hair before she went to bed when she was little. I remember all the times we’ve spent together and I just can’t believe that it’s all about to change. Tonight we had such a good night because she stayed downstairs with my boyfriend and I all night. She helped us cook dinner and then we played Phase 10. It is nice to have nights like this because I know i am on borrowed time. Tomorrow is prom which boggles my mind. Life goes by so fast!!!

10-10-1

As I was listening to Rachel Hollis’ new book, Girl Stop Apologizing, on the way home today, she was talking about how to set a goal for your life. She said the first step is to think about what your life will look like in ten years. Then she said to think of ten dreams that would come true for your life to look the way you want it to. Finally you choose one goal to focus on first to get that ideal life. She calls this 10-10-1. I found this whole process fascinating but as a teacher it is really hard to know where to start. I know that I would someday like to work on my doctorate but I also know I am not ready for that right now. I would also like to teach in a foreign country but I can’t do anything like that until after my son graduates high school. My boyfriend and I are actually working towards getting everything together to do that in a couple of years. Our first goal in making that dream happen is to get IB Certified so that we will be more marketable to International Schools. We have found a conference in Houston during October that will help us get started. I am actually relieved that I have a new focus because my Dual Credit English program will be complete once I turn in my final essay on Saturday. I pretty much have it complete but I still need to edit it. I am really looking forward to being done with this program and moving on to other things.

End of the Year Discouragement

I was quickly trying to update all my student’s grades before I came home for our much needed early release and short break. I noticed that I have so many students failing and it is already the second week of the Six Weeks. I know that every year when we get to the last six weeks it starts becoming more and more apparent just how done these students have become. I know we are all tired and that no one really wants to produce work, but it kills me that they think it is okay to just shut down when we still have five weeks of school left. I was listening to a few of my students today and they were complaining about having tests the last day of school. They whine so much about the littlest things. I don’t remember a year from 7th grade through 12th grade that we didn’t have finals the last couple of days of school. It’s not like it makes sense to come to school after you’ve finished everything.  I know from a teacher’s perspective that there is nothing worse than having to babysit students after they have taken your final. One year at my first district they tried to have this really cool field day the last day of school. We took all our finals the few days before and the students were all supposed to be able to play all day on the last day. Then of course it rained almost like a monsoon and the even got canceled. The kids still had to be at school though so teachers had to babysit students all day long. Needless to say, our school never tried anything like that again. My students are upset they are having tests but I am more upset that we don’t have early release the last day so that teachers have time to grade. This will be the first time that I’ve worked at a school that goes the full school day on the last day of school.

Today I am just thankful that I don’t have to go back to work until Tuesday. I will worry about my grades next week because my students aren’t going to ruin the time I have with my family.