Obviously, I am struggling. I haven't posted here in months. Mostly because I have been incredibly busy trying to keep ahead of my kids. Seriously, I have been making copies for classes as the bell rings.
I keep changing things.
When I took my biology teaching methods class way back in college, my professor said something that stuck with me. Actually, I think it more or less killed any chances of me having an unstressful career. Basically, he told us not to teach the same biology class for 20 years.
I have never actually taught biology (how is that for irony?), but I have taught everything else. And NEVER have I been able to simply pull out a paper from last year and go make a copy. Every year, as we move through the activity, I write notes in the margins. I cross things out. I add things in.
Now I have discovered TeachPaperless, a blog about a guy who has figured out how to not stand at the copy machine. Blogs. Diigo. Twitter. Twitter???
I am intrigued. I am stuck. I love the idea behind letting kids start to build their own PLN. But where do I start?
Well, my ocean science started with Diigo. It's been two days. And four people can't remember their user name and password. Really? I'm beginning to think it is all a ruse to waste time.
But I'm sticking with it. I am trying to look past the 68 minutes of my class and help them to see that it's not just about getting a grade. It's about learning. It's about expanding their world in to places they don't even know exists.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I have this kid. Does nothing. He would sleep through my class every day if I let him. He will sometimes stare at the paper and pretend to write stuff down. Has yet to turn in an assignment this quarter. So we took a test yesterday. As usual, I went by and woke him up. Told him if he didn't want to work, he could go to the office. He looked at me, kind of surprised and actually somewhat upset and told me in all honesty, that "I don't know any of this stuff." Well, duh. I don't doubt that. I asked him why he thought that was a surprise...you haven't listened to the lectures, let alone taken any notes, you don't participate in the labs or do any of the work. I guess what really got me was the fact that he talked like he had been participating, like he had done everything he was supposed to and THEN didn't know the material. This is what frustrates me most.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I have a tough job. There is no way around it. The kids who walk into my classroom every day are challenged in so many ways it's hard to find the humor. One girl has multiple infections in her abdomen of unknown origins. One has been in the hospital with kidney stones - she's 15! One boy is a felon and will never be able to vote. One simply wants to use class time to sleep. One student yesterday was telling me how his mom smoked marijuana with him the night before. I have one student whose mother pretends doesn't exist. I found this out during parent teacher conferences. She came in to discuss her daughter (whom I do NOT have in class) and totally ignored any reference to her son. I recently had a visit from a social worker. She wanted to discuss a student who is bitter about being exited out of special education. During the conversation, she mentioned that people in the court system have heard about me and the classes I teach. From their perspective, and from what they hear from parents and kids, I am doing a great job. Sometimes, you just need to hear it.
Friday, February 6, 2009
I hate being gone. When ever I have a substitute, I spend the next two days catching my kids back up. How does that happen? Of course, if they didn't pretend to not have a clue, it would maybe be a little better. Today we had quite the drama. Apparently some of our students were involved in a party that included the use of many illegal substances. So a good number of my fifth hour students were called down to the principals office. Our kids follow a surprisingly strict code of silence regarding others involved, so it was interesting to hear the conversations trying to determine the 'narc'. It never ceases to amaze me that for them, it is perfectly okay to drink yourself into oblivion, but seems normal to send their best friend into exile.