Sunday, September 26, 2010

There's a reason...

...first year teachers are in their 20s and not approaching 40 (like I am).

I very much feel like a first year teacher right now.  I am doing pretty much everything from scratch - between SBG and putting everything on the SMART Board, there is very little I am doing this year that I have done in the past (at least planning wise).  I am worn out but I also am happier with how things are going in my classroom so far. 

I have put together my second set of unit plans for everyone but Calculus (but I did start them tonight - a little ahead of schedule).  Everyone has had their first tests except Calc (which has it Wed and Thu this week).  So, now the reassessing process begins in earnest.

So where are things at right now?
Math 1 is in the middle of their second unit.  Behavior issues have been cropping up this week.  I've had a chat with them and our principal sent out a memo looking for discipline problems.  He and I had a chat about them Friday and he's going to stop in this week to reinforce what I had said to them.  I have had 3 students either come in to reassess or get tutored, which I am somewhat happy about.  There could be more students coming in, but I'm happy for a start.  I need to communicate to them the importance of coming back to reassess.  I need to figure out how to get that across to them.

Advanced Algebra 2 and Algebra 2 just had their first assessment on Friday.  I had some students totally skip questions (Algebra 2 kids) which was a little surprising this early in the year.  I definitely have a lower group than last year's Algebra 2 group.  My Advanced kids did about what I expected from them, although a couple of them did worse than I thought they would.  These kids will be the hardest sell on SBG I think.  One of these students stopped in after school Friday and asked how he did and I told him he'd find out Monday.  He is one of my most competitive kids (maybe the most competitive kid) and I know he wanted to know what percent score he got.  The explanation for them on Monday will be key.  This group also had some careless computation errors on their tests.  I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with those.  At the moment if there is only one computation error and everything else is correct, I am scoring it as a 4.5.  More than one error and it's a 4 (or less).  Algebra 2 kids have a lot of work to do - but hopefully they will be coming back to reassess.

Calculus is coming along slowly.  I lost two students this week but I gained one from the Senior Applied Math class (she probably should have been in Calc to start), so that puts me at 13.  This is definitely the lowest class I have had in Calc ability wise.

So now what?
Well, I definitely need to get things under control, planning-wise.  I have been working practically every spare moment to try to get ahead and feel like I have the planning under control.  I'm getting closer to that - I actually got a lot done today and I am happy that I at least got a start on planning Calculus even though they don't start their next unit until Friday.  I still have some quizzes to get written for this week, but at least I have an idea of how things will go this week.  I need to get the next unit planned in Calculus, then Math 1 next.  Math 1 has their second test Friday, so
I have to get ready for that as well.

All in all, I am pretty happy with how things are going.  I feel like I am doing a better job as a teacher and I hope that my students are learning more with doing things this way.

Now if I can just get over this tiredness....

Addendum (Monday evening)
I passed back tests today.  My 4th period class was cut short by a speaker, so I don't have an accurate reflection on them.  However, I had several students who had 4's in both my Advanced Algebra 2 class and my 7th period Algebra 2 test already schedule reassessments.  I am very encouraged by this.  Hopefully, I'll see more this week.

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