Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day Eighteen!

Today was Thursday and that made it a little different day because of all the preparation time in the day, which was needed. It seemed like ever since I got back from Arizona I have been catching up with work, because of the time not spent planning, teaching, and grading while seeing family. It was a great trip and I’m glad that I went, but I do not think teachers do that very often. In fact, Anne told me specifically that as teachers we do not go to skiing on the weekends, we don’t go out on the weekends; instead, we get up really early just to grade papers and give back to our students. Our lives are spent getting ready for the next day and recovering from the two days before. In fact, it finally clicked why it is the teachers more so than the students that look forward to the weekend, the breaks, and the summers off. This job is a lot of work, good work, but just a lot of work.

Today in English 10 one of the main activities for the day was administering a quiz over Act One of Macbeth. What I perceived as an “easy” quiz turned into something that some of the students struggled through. There was one question in particular that many of them had to ask for clarification on, one I thought they should know. It just reminded me that I need to be extra mindful when creating quizzes the directions are clear and that the questions are easy to understand and straightforward. Even though I know all the questions and it seems easy to me, it is not always easy for the students. Making a key to the exam right before giving it will also be something that I want to do in the future. It will help for the grading process and also help to tailor the discussion in class. Hopefully then I do not have any of those “trick questions” either this way, or at least I can point them out to the whole class at the beginning of the exam and not in the middle of it. As time continues on and as I teach more I am continually learning and changing my practice.

In English 9 today we had to take a step back. Yesterday I reflected on how I felt like I covered too much information with the students and after meeting with a few of them I found that my reflection rang true with them also. So today in class we went through the structure of the first paragraph one more time. I had a really good example that displayed all the parts of the first paragraph, the one yesterday was lacking in a few areas, which made me a lot more confident in the classroom because I knew that everything was in that paragraph. It was a great feeling being a confident educator. I am one of those people, like both Anne and Kristin, that way over plan. When I was gone I did not really get a chance to plan a lot, which like I mentioned earlier did not give me time to prepare for the week. This led to scrambling the night before in planning for classes and getting things ready. Preparing quality examples was at times really hard, hence the confidence in a good example today. My take away for the day was that it is a lot better to over plan and get ready for class then it is to not be confident. I was excited about the progress today made by the 9th graders, but I am excited to challenge them in the future. Over planning and getting ready for class is going to be my goal for this next week.

Overall, it was a great day of planning and recovering. It just seems like a constant struggle between planning and grading…and the struggle, battle, life of a teacher continues.