20 August 2006

School Times

Whew! I'm tired. Let me describe the sacrifice I'm making for you, dear reader.

Tomorrow I'll get up at 4:30 a.m. to grade papers in advance of my school day. I had a bunch of summer reading sheets turned in Friday, so I'll be busy before I can even start my second week of school. It's 10:20 right now, so I won't have a long, luxurious night of sleep, no way!

My classes are different this year, and it has taken some adjusting. Our school has gone to the block schedule, which means that our classes last just one semester and last for 90 minutes instead of the 55 minutes I am used to teaching. It is good for the kids, who only have to put up with me for one semester--plus they get to take up to eight classes a year instead of the six they had previously taken.

It's tough for me, however, because I have to plan three to four activities per class. It cuts down on me jabbering on, I guess, but I rely upon teacher-made activities, and it takes awhile to get those things ready. One cool thing, though, is that I have a 90-minute planning period. Once I get around to teaching the class again, it should be really, really easy, but right now it's tough and exhausting.

I teach three classes this semester: two English honors classes for seniors, and one standard-level class for freshmen. The English honors classes are going well--I have plenty of kids there whom I don't have to work hard to motivate. We're coving vikings at the moment in advance of reading Beowulf, and we're doing creative things like making our own viking helmets and scripting movie trailers for the old Saxon poem, "The Battle of Maldon."

"Standard" refers to the basic-level English classes. I have fewer previously motivated kids in my freshman class--although I have some really good ones. I kept one boy after class last Friday because he apparently hasn't developed an inner dialogue. Any thought that passes through his mind tends to come out his mouth, no matter what I'm teaching at the moment. I gave my first detention of the year to a girl who snuck out the door one minute before the bell rang to end the period. That's the kind of stuff I have to deal with at that level.

One cool thing that I've developed this year is a web site for my classes. I'll post homework assignments, and it will be a great way to post grades and keep parents informed. I also got to write a biography of myself and describe how experienced I am in the third person.

Ellie started 4th grade last week, and Owen started kindergarten, so I have two kids at the same school for the first time. I put Jonah in a daycare near my high school, and he seems to enjoy the learning and socialization opportunities that it offers.

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