It Really is a New Semester

January 21, 2010 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

I’ve rearranged my classroom so that the desks are in groups of four. It makes it feel larger, and now I can physically get to every single student. The groups have team names, and are competing for prizes like “get out of homework free” cards. They get ahead when everyone has their homework in on time, when no one is tardy, when everyone does well. They have to look out for each other if they want to win. I have so many students who need me to constantly ride herd on them if I want them to do the smallest thing – open their textbook. Bring a pencil. And I can’t satisfactorily clone myself. So instead of me riding herd on them, maybe their groups will? That’s my hope, anyway. Maybe the kid who doesn’t mind letting himself down will think twice before letting someone else down.

I’m taking things back to basics. I’m not assigning another essay for a while – these kids can’t write. We’re looking at nouns right now, and then it’ll be verbs, and then we’ll talk about how you need at least one of each of those to make a sentence, and then we’ll talk about making them agree with one another. No sonatas until they can play their scales.

We’re starting To Kill a Mockingbird, and I have to confess that I’m a little excited. I’ve had a hard time understanding what all the fuss is about – it’s a nice book, I thought, but not the end-all-be-all, right? Except that I felt even more negatively toward The Outsiders, and it turned out to be amazing. Teaching these books gives me an entirely different perspective than just having read them as a pre-teen. I’m excited to see how this goes.

I’m not sure how much of this is going to work, or how long it will work – but I know that I feel more in control of my classroom, and more optimistic about what’s going on inside it, than I have in since the first week of school. I actually feel like I could be okay here, complete lack of support from other teachers or not.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that three of my biggest pains-in-the-butt are off my roster. Yep – Hyde is GONE. I’d like to say that I’m sorry, but I’m not. My junior class is actually a class again, and it’s a great relief. And Beavis and Butthead, from my B day, are gone as well. They gave me a new “problem child,” but I’m holding out hope that he’ll prove less an issue than Hyde was…

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Entry filed under: PLANNING AND DOING.

Second Wind Mrs. Bees Reads About Shut-Down Learners

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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!

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