Tuesday, December 22, 2009

reflecting upon a cure for what ails me...

It's vacation! Happy vacation everyone! We're about four days into it, and I was trapped in DC during the THUNDERSNOW. That was epic and crazy. I didn't take pictures of the long, wonderful walk I had during the snow. I went off from my place and wandered down 14th St and ended up at the 14th & U Snowball Fight (I like this description, though it's a tad more innocent than the eyewitness report of a cop brandishing a gun...yikes!); ran into a colleague, who went with me to the Mall! Lovely, lovely, all of it. I was freezing afterwards, but that's the price you pay for beauty?

So, now that I'm home, my main goal is three-fold: pull all my grades together; study for my praxis 2 exam (boooo); figure out how to really differentiate and plan well for my kids next quarter; and, most importantly, find a cure for what's ailing me.

I talked it over with my mom, and didn't really come up with much of a plan, unfortunately. But, I have an idea in my head about how to combat some of this negativity: I'm going to firmly plan my feet again and not kid myself: everyone's going through this shit that I'm going through. And it's not that I'm not special in that regard--my own experience is my own experience, I think. I deal with it however heavily I do (perhaps too much so), but I'm going to try to figure out how to go through that bullshit and do things in the school the right way.

I'm going to try and do my hardest to differentiate properly, and really study the units (workshops) that we go through in the rBook. I'll review the skills and the stories and try and predict how the kids're going to struggle, and how they're going to succeed. Some of this stuff is in place from last year, so I won't try and reinvent the wheel. But, as I'm trying to find my own way to deal with the problem of not being invested in my work, I will try and figure out what's best for my students in terms of homework, reviewing for the final, and planning, etc.

Here's what I want to do:

1) Build a review packet for the final like I did last time
2) Figure out what homeworks will be needed next workshop, and what I want the kids to focus on more
3) Write in my "Belief" notebook that I used to for school last year, and spend some time at my old Starbucks haunt from last year developing some curriculum.
4) Get some poetry recitation lesson plans set--I'll be starting some of them soon for an 11th grade classroom. I'm wicked excited about it, and it will provide me some insight into how an English class is run, at least, for now.
5) Write some poetry
6) Relax

Friday, December 18, 2009

first good day in, what, 3 months?

In the whole semester, I have yet to have a real honest to goodness good day. each one has trudged with its various ups and downs. And, as time's passed, mostly downs. The school i'm at has this poisonous negativity pervading it, and there's not too much that's constructive it seems to me.

Somehow, despite the fact that one of my students refuses (and therefore will not be able to present his project until he does this) to take the reading growth test and swore in my classroom (suddenly kids are swearing, what's with this?) ("I hate this fucking class" was the phrase, I believe), I suddenly had a huge smile on my face come last period. It's not because we had an assembly (I was a little miffed about that), and also not because it was the last period of the day. Rather, I had a sincerely good time teaching reciprocal teaching (a strategy that is best described as a literature circle for all subjects), and enjoyed my third period class immensely when they practiced it. It really showed that they knew what to do (even my students who are ESL caught on, though I had one fracaso (failure) with one kid who had no clue). And that gives me hope that their last project that they'll be working on over the weekend will be fine, as long as they're (gulp) responsible. But, I told them that there's no way they're getting any extensions...it's due the day they get back from break si o si (yes or yes...no other option!).

So, in short, I had a good day today. I was all smiles, and very into my activator (suffixes...mmm, love 'em!). So, I felt good. Tomorrow's the day before vacation...it's time to break out the donuts and juice, and relax.