Just a quick update on my second week as a High School Teacher. All in all, things went well. My ELL student seems to be gaining confidence. He is improving his reading AND he is asking questions in other classes! I am so excited for him. My perpetually tardy student has been early for every class. Little steps, but very encouraging.
I gave two of my classes a writing assessment. I have my work cut out for me. Out of my 20 students, not a single one could write a cohesive essay. Several students wrote good introduction paragraphs, but then their essays fell apart. There were several who couldn’t even do a plan for their writing. There were essays that lacked capital letters, even at the beginning of sentences. Spelling, as I expected it to be in a handwritten essay, was awful but in most cases I could figure it out. I’m working on dividing the kids up into groups of similar ability so I can begin instruction. I originally figured I’d divide my class of 13 kids into 2 groups, but I think that there is such a wide range of abilities, that it won’t work. The groups will be too large for me to effectively instruct them and to make sure that they get the individualized attention that they will need to make improvements. So, I am going to re-work my schedule and see if I can figure out how to have 3 groups.
My large class (the one with 13 students) is starting to settle in. I gave them a “following directions test” this week. It was good for a few laughs and an excellent teaching tool for teenagers. Here it is –
Read all of the directions before doing anything.
1. Write your name and the date on this paper.
2. Read number 3 out loud.
3. Write out the letters in the following sentence in the order of the alphabet.
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
4. Stand up. Sit down.
5. If you think you have followed directions up to this point, call out, “I have”.
6. Draw your favorite animal.
7. Walk around the room.
9. Write down what it says on someone’s shirt.
10. Look up and down 4 times.
11. Write your name upside down at the bottom of this sheet of paper.
12. Walk around the room and tap somebody on the shoulder.
13. Write your friend’s name with the hand you do not usually write with in the left margin.
14. Do 5 jumping-jacks and sing the A-B-C Song.
15. Do not do numbers 1-14. Rip up this paper and throw it in the recycling bin. Sit back and watch your classmates and laugh.
The class following the “test” the kids were assigned seats. They were still talkative but they were much better. In fact, they were working so hard on their writing assessments, that we took a Brain Break in the middle of class. I set the timer for 5 minutes and we played catch with the beach ball. The kids listened to and followed the directions (no talking except if you have the ball – call out the person’s name you are throwing the ball to – if you throw it badly you sit down – if they don’t catch the ball they sit down). There were a number of laughs and the “winner” got a piece of hard candy. The students asked if we could play again. I told them that we would if they could get back to work. Again this was a small victory but a victory nonetheless.
I dealt with more drama, but it was manageable. I figured out how to use the gradebook program, the IEP program and sent out email about my student’s accommodations. It was a good week. I have a stack of papers to grade (that is fine) and more planning to do. But I’m happy. I love this job. AND one of the other teachers in the department (she teaches Freshmen English and Consumer Math) announced that she is retiring at the end of the year. So, there will be a full-time open position.
On Friday, I subbed for the department co-head for 2 periods and got called by the Principal’s Secretary to see if I could sub for the period I had free. I subbed my first P.E. Class (another post will follow on this). I subbed for a total of 3 periods and has some fun doing it. It was a good week. I hope this next week is as good.