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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher
Day 160: Thursday’s Theme: Win some, lose some, then try to get some rest.
The sixth grade was presenting plays on Greek myths at various points throughout the morning. This means I got my third period class intermittently over a period of 10 minutes while I was trying to start class, and teach a really tricky objective – how to trace changes through an ecosystem on a food web. Moreover, a handful of girls wanted to go back downstairs to help with the plays that were still going on. I offered that they could go when they finished their class work and quiz, but they weren’t remotely focused – likely due to their own post-play adrenaline. We got through the lesson and a quiz, but it was messy, and I am relatively confident few students got that last objective. Oops.
On the other hand, right as fourth period was ending, I got a…
Day 159: Wednesday, I had one of the best classes with my homeroom all spring. Sort of. After three or four quick warnings, the Do Now was silent. Not sort of silent, but actually silent. When it came time for the food web demonstration – throwing balls of yarn around the room to make a big…read more »
Day 158: I can’t think of any overarching theme for today. Classes went well, whether it was the “we need to shape up” speech I had to give 2nd period or the “we have a lot to celebrate” speech I gave 8th period. So, in the absence of any big theme, here’s a cute story. My…read more »
Day 157: Well, 157 days into the school year, I finally took a sick day. It turns out that being out at receptions and dinners and family time for an entire graduation weekend – for my youngest brother, now a Skidmore College graduate! – and subsequently missing your regularly scheduled catch-up-on-rest time, combined with some head-inflating…read more »
Day 156: Students might not know it, but they love routines. Structure and schedule helps them know what’s expected of them. It helps them focus on learning. So, what happens when you try to teach on a Friday, when Tuesday and Thursday were high-stakes tests, Wednesday was a half-day, and Thursday afternoon was mostly recess and…read more »
Day 155: Done with MCAS! If I were a Math or English teacher, I’d be excited because the finish line I’d been aiming toward all year had finally been crossed, and it would be time to do a project, or some sort of year-end activities. However, I teach a non-tested subject. So, what am I excited…read more »
Day 154: Teaching is often an exercise in delayed gratification. You might struggle with a child for months, only to have him or her come around in June and say, “Thank you.” Given that, when the wins are big and obvious and staring you in the face, you embrace them. IEP meetings are not typically tons…read more »
Day 153: Does compliance lead to buy-in, or is compliance the best it gets? Tuesday, we did a homeroom reset. Silent entrance, silent to desks, silent to the morning meeting circle. First warning = three minutes of recess. Second = ten minutes, plus sit in a fourth grade room. We got to the circle quickly and…read more »
Day 152: My homeroom has been, on the whole, trending downward for months. They enter classrooms like they’re entering a party. They fail, consistently, to quiet down when asked. They throw balls around the room like it’s recess. For a while now, I’ve been letting a lot slide. Science class is going well, and giving certain…read more »
Day 150: Often, when I finally remember on Sunday that I haven’t written about Friday yet, I can only remember a blur of exhaustion and frustration and please let me finish this day and get to the bar as fast as I can. As usual, I don’t remember many details. However, the ones I do remember…read more »