mission: accomplished

September 4, 2007

It’s over! Whoooo hooo!

I’m still sick. In fact, I’m sicker than I was, but I was too busy to worry about it all day. The kids are adorable and a little bit crazy, but I enjoy 9th grade because they¬† have so much energy.

Questions I was asked today: “Miss, are we going on a field trip? And don’t say ‘museum’ because that doesn’t count!” “If we’re studying the first humans, are we studying the Bible or are we studying evolution?” “Are we allowed to have opinions in this class? Like, strong ones. I mean, if we’re still respectful and everything.”

Tomorrow I meet the 12th graders taking the Regents for the fourth (or more) time. And I get to find out if I remember any of the kids’ names — I have two classes of 34, which is rough on the memory. Should be a good time.

Oh, thank god it’s over.


cough. hack. sniffle.

September 3, 2007

I’m sick! Of all the things I anticipated going wrong with the first day of school “sore throat I can barely speak through and constant horrible nose-blowing” wasn’t even on my mind.


August 31, 2007

Okay, now I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. I love that the New School has lots of procedures and expectations — I’ve been more supported in the past two days than in the two years I was at the Old School. But I’ve also never really had to have my shit together before. I’ve always been the tallest hobbit, if you catch my drift. It’s not that hard to achieve. And suddenly I have to do things. It’s a lot more pressure than I’m used to.

first day

August 30, 2007

I have a tiny problem with being early, and that problem is I am always, always ridiculously early. I was supposed to be at school today at 8:30 for PD; I arrived at 7:50. Mind you the actually PD didn’t begin until 9; 8:30 was for the optional breakfast. When I was interviewing at schools I had to sit outside across the street for 45 minutes so I wouldn’t be freakishly early.

Other than my inability to judge time, today went well. I’ve never worked somewhere with procedures already in place. I am excited to set up my classroom (although, technically speaking, I don’t have anything to put up yet) and I’m sharing it with nice people. (If, in five months, this has changed to OMG GET OFF MY BLACKBOARD YOU HORRIBLE BITCH don’t be too stunned; sharing space makes people crazy.) Everyone is nice. I am suddenly co-teaching a US history class once a week. I gave all the other history teachers the hard sell on The Story of the World, the greatest supplemental history book of all time.

Now I’m going to kick back with my Friday Night Lights DVDs. Fictional high school is so much more fun than real high school.

four days and counting

August 27, 2007

The week is here! I don’t actually have to go in until Thursday, which seems crazy to me; I’m used to having PD all summer and going in a week in advance. To be fair, I spent most of that week last year doing nothing.

I finally have a program, too, which is pretty exciting. I do indeed have an advisory but I’m co-advising with a science teacher (cool). And my Regents prep class meets five times a week. (I’d sort of thought it would just be once. Oops.) Both my 9th grade classes are in the same room, which makes me happy. (New teachers tend to get screwed over with classroom assignments. My first year I was in three different rooms three periods in a row.)

So now all I have to do is make the plans in my head plans in reality.

Several things are keeping me up at night: What will the kids be like? What will the classes be like? Are there things I should know that I don’t yet (grading policies, school policies)? Will the other teachers be nice, and how long will it take me to learn all their names? Who will I sit with at lunch? What if my sneakers aren’t cool enough?

Okay, not that last one; I got a pair of insanely comfortable low heels to wear that I know darn well are cool.

true story

August 15, 2007

Jd2718 made a good point here yesterday — I’m moving to a new school, so there probably isn’t much point in planning super far ahead. I have no idea about reading levels or class size or school culture, really, so I can’t even guess how much I can get done in 90 minutes. Once I have the first couple of projects planned out (rubrics and directions, at least) I’ll probably be playing it by ear anyway. This does not bring down my stress level much.

Oh! I know all kinds of awesome teachers read this blog now, so I was hoping you’d be willing to share: What do you do the first day of school? I tried playing a game my first year — that was a disaster, because all it did was convince the kids that my class would be all fun and no work. That is no way to start off. The second year I tried doing procedures, but I wasn’t really organized enough to have tons of systems in place, and I’m not comfortable just talking for 45 minutes. (90, this time.) I don’t have 45 minutes of procedures in place, apparently. So what do you do? Any awesome tips for the first day? (I am Harry Wong‘s nightmare, I tell you.)

And now, because this blog has been nothing but whining almost all summer, here is a fun story about a teacher I used to work with a couple of schools ago. He was (is, I guess) pretty traditional, a little bit older, one of those people who has been in the system for a long, long time. He shared a classroom with our awesome Spanish teacher, who was young and enthusiastic and female. So one day she goes in to the room during his class to grab something, and he turns to the students (impressionable 9th graders) and says “Children, do you know where Ms. Spanish Teacher should be right now?” The kids all shrug. “She should be home. She should be raising her children.” No, he wasn’t kidding. “This is why there’s so much crime and violence in the Bronx. Mothers don’t stay home with their children, they go to work, instead. She should be caring for her family, not going to work. A woman’s place is home with her children.”

I’m sorry, did I say “fun story”? I meant “scary as hell story” about the people who are educating your children.