One Week Down

September 1, 2008 at 11:22 pm Leave a comment

Tomorrow I start Week 2 as a real live teacher.

I have four or five blog posts sketched out on post-its, notepads, and brain cells, but I don’t think any of them are getting written. I am going to make a better effort to take the time to reflect and share on my experiences, but it just didn’t happen in that first week. Go figure. 🙂

What a week, though. Getting hired so late in the game, for a grade level to which I wasn’t accustomed, with very little peer interaction before blastoff, meant that I had somewhat of a deep-end baptism experience. I wasn’t psychologically prepared for the immaturity – physical or emotional – of my students. I knew that there would be a huge range of maturity, but knowing and living it are two different things! I have students, male and female, who are small enough that I could probably pick them up and carry them across the school; I have students, albeit relatively few, of both genders who are adult-sized.

My first day flew. I’m teaching four seventh grade writing/composition classes and two seventh grade literature/reading strategies classes. There are a lot of students… 161 of them, to be exact, if I don’t count Advisory. (I had about fifty fewer in my student teaching.) (Dude, I just realized that I have ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-ONE STUDENTS.)

To be fair, over fifty of them are kids I see twice in one day. This is also astonishing to me. And then there are the kids I see three times a day, because they’re in my Advisory, and the kids who have four classes in my classroom, because there’s an oversized Spanish classroom squeezed into my slightly undersized room during my prep period….

Blah blah blah.

At the end of my second day of teaching I got some very bad news. One of my favorite college professors was killed in a terrible and shocking accident. She had had a significant impact on my teaching of grammar and language, not to mention my overall style as a teacher, and the news uprooted me like a recently-transplanted petunia after a windstorm. (My mom will appreciate that simile, I reckon.) I’m not going to spend any time on this story in this post, because it deserves and will get a post of its own.

On days three and four I began to figure out what I was supposed to be teaching in the reading classes. I had scheduled a two-day writing assessment for my composition classes, which was a blessing given that I was in poor emotional shape for in-depth teaching. Unfortunately, I would later find out that I’d scheduled the assessment a week earlier than I was supposed to do, but I don’t imagine that really matters very much.

We started off the year with a four-day weekend, in a manner of speaking; one day of in-service (and, for the most part, a very useful one at that) and then three days to decompress, re-gather thoughts, reorganize plans, and begin looking for a new job. 😉 Ha ha, just kidding – really. As absolutely desperately difficult as I bet this job is going to be, I can already see that I’m going to love it. After that first day I was worried that I’d made a miscalculation in declaring that I wanted to teach middle school, but after four days I’m feeling much better about it all. I have concerns, but loving my job is not one of them at this point.

I need to write about my boys. There is a lot going on with these seventh-grade boys, and I can see that I’m going to have my hands full – not only with helping them, but with making sure that I’m not neglecting their female counterparts. As I mentioned to a couple of people after that first week, I’ve never been a proponent of single-gender classrooms. Now, however, I at least understand why people came up with the idea: they were clearly seventh grade teachers. The boys are all such total disasters that the girls become quite invisible! 🙂 I’ve already had an interesting experience with one boy (I think I’ll call him Seth) that I hope continues to evolve positively this week.

Well, it is time for bed. Tomorrow I’m going to introduce journaling to my writing classes, which may backfire because not all of them have brought in their journals even though they were due last Wednesday, and then we’re going to do a “classroom poster” activity that another teacher recommended to me. In reading we’re going to do an activity that the other teachers did last week (oops – but not my fault). In Advisory we’re going to… well, we’ll see. 😛 I’ve got stuff in mind, but I’m still not completely clear on what it is I’m supposed to be doing with those twenty minutes at the end of the day.

Much more to say, but not right now. Best wishes to the rest of you out there who are going back to school, either again or for the first time!


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A Quick Note… Why Seventh Graders Can’t Vote

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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

I am striving to maintain anonymity on this blog so that I may more freely interact with my fellow edubloggers. If you know who I am, please help me protect my anonymity in your comments. I use pseudonyms or initials for everyone I write about to preserve their anonymity as well.

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