Posts tagged ‘LMS’

Why Seventh Graders Can’t Vote

“Uhm, so, can I ask a question?” Jessi says.

I am doing okay on time, so I say yes and lower the spelling list. I’ve just given them the word “democratic” to spell.

Jessi shuffles her feet under her desk. “So, this Barack guy. Like, is he – I mean, I know he’s running for President…”

“Yes, he is,” I respond.

“But before he decided to run for President, wasn’t he a professional wrestler?”

Yes, Jessi, I can smell (or spell) what Barack is cooking. 🙂

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September 5, 2008 at 5:48 pm 2 comments

One Week Down

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!

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

A Quick Note…

First, a HUGE thank you to everyone who has been so happy about my job! I will talk to you individually soon.

I have much to blog about, but I just can’t allow myself to take the time right now. I am doing an awful lot of eleventh-hour room setup and class planning, and I just have to get some of that done before I can sit down and talk about it. 🙂

I did find out what my “mystery class” is going to be. Ready for this? It’s… PE. Ha ha ha. No, not really. I now have four writing classes and two literature classes, instead of just one. Well, I have four writing classes, 1.5 literature classes, and .5 keyboarding classes, if you think of it in terms of the entire year.

(Keyboarding should be amusing if I ever have to demonstrate anything. I don’t type exactly “correctly” – my pointer fingers cross over into the other hand’s turf frequently, and I never use my pinky fingers except for the shift key – but I type in excess of 110 wpm.)

Right now, this is kind of what my room looks like (click to enlarge):

Panorama That Makes Room Look Huge and Weird

It’s a stitched-together panorama photograph, so the shape of the room is all strange and distended. I measured it with a slightly warped meter stick (all I could find was a pile of meter sticks in a science classroom, go figure) and came up with about 7 meters by 9.5 meters. I have three white boards and two doors, one of which opens up into another classroom. I’m in the sixth grade hall, which tickles me for some odd reason. There are no corkboards/bulletin boards, but all of the walls are what I call “stapleboard.” All of the stuff in there belongs the room’s former inhabitant, and I’ve been working around it for now, but I may begin shoving some of it around this weekend since I’m running low on time. I haven’t actually done anything in there except plan, but today I’m kind of planning to start setting up bookcases and whatnot. My desks will come in on Monday, and then I can really turn it into my room!

I have got to stop typing and go start doing! I’ll try to get back with a more substantive update later this weekend. ❤

August 16, 2008 at 12:27 pm Leave a comment

Guess what? I are an English teacher!

Somehow or the other, I have beaten the odds and found myself a job as an English teacher!!

I interviewed at what I will call LMS, in the Suburban School District, on August 7. The interview felt like it went pretty well, but I never feel like I exactly know – especially considering I got only two hours of sleep the night before. The local Educator Grapevine began buzzing shortly thereafter; the Asst. Principal called my mentor teacher and got a resounding recommendation from her (I love you and owe you a lunch, DR). I had discovered that one of my grad school cohorts teaches at LMS; she told me that she’d heard the interview went well.

Every day felt like a week. There was a point in time when I wanted nothing more than to teach middle school, and a point in time when I felt I preferred high school; after interviewing at LMS I wanted to teach THERE and nowhere else. I mean, I tried to hedge my emotional bets; I told myself and my loved ones that I would be perfectly happy at a different school, that whatever was intended to happen would happen. But I was definitely counting those unhatched chickens.

A couple of phone calls and phone messages later,  I was really excited. Things sounded positive.

I was supposed to find out by 8:30 AM on Wednesday. By 2 PM today, I knew that I was going to be a seventh grade English teacher.

I haven’t done paperwork yet, due to some timing issues, but I’m scheduled for new teacher orientation Thursday and Friday. I’ve met the principal, however, and gotten a look inside the classrooms. I’m going to be teaching four classes of English 7 (writing) and one class of English 7 (literature) first semester; the lit class turns into a 6th grade keyboarding class in the spring. There’s another class in there that hasn’t been determined yet. I’m also – and I’m really excited about this – going to be advising student council. I know that student council at the middle school level is more emerging leadership than actual government, but I’m excited about the prospect of teaching some of the skills I’ve learned through membership in and advisement of student organizations.

The scariest/stupidest thing I did, in terms of counting those darn chickens, was thinking about a classroom. To me, one of the coolest things about teaching is having that space to yourself, that space to decorate and fill and make your own. I  knew it was a bad idea to get my head going that direction. Many first-year teachers share classrooms or travel from room to room with a book cart (hence “cart teacher”). Still, it was just too much fun NOT to think about.

Well… I have a classroom. (!!!) There was a slight confusion with the room number, and the room I’m currently assigned still has another teacher’s things in it, so I’m not 100% positive which room will be mine once I can officially begin moving in. Apparently the current inhabitant is changing subjects and moving to another wing of the building. I was able to wander around the school and take a look inside several classrooms. Mine is like most in that it doesn’t have a window or a computer projector, but it seems to be of average size and has a cozy feel to it. I am thinking about bookcases and trying to figure out how to arrange the room so that there is some division without making it crowded…

Eek! I am so excited… I’m browsing IKEA’s website, wondering if a small sofa will fit in the classroom, thinking about the possibility of buying my own projector, watching clips of Olympics-fan Bush on the Daily Show….

I’M A TEACHER. I HAVE A JOB. WHOO HOO!!!

There is only one video in all of YouTube that is up to the task of expressing my glee. Presenting, in all 9:33 minutes of glory – each and every second full of awesome – the NerdFighters/Brotherhood 2.0 Happy Dance Project. (If the embedded video doesn’t work, just click the HDP link.)

August 12, 2008 at 11:45 pm 4 comments


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.