Back to the Classroom

This morning I signed the contract and have formally joined the faculty at St. Vincent Pallotti High School. This is the school where I was a frequent substitute teaching between October and May, allowing me to get to know the students, faculty, and administration. They’re a small school compared to Owings Mills and their English faculty numbered four so I knew the odds of openings were small.

And yet, as the kids sweated through finals, two of the four surprisingly gave notice and the department chair was in touch. I formally went in to speak about the job, an actual interview with the principal, the incoming assistant principal, and the chair. Despite knowing me and having heard from the kids about me, this was a rigorous interview and I must have said the right words.

Around mid-July I went in and was verbally offered the job, which I accepted. Soon after, I met with my chair for two hours and asked questions, was shown my freshly painted classroom, and looked at all the material I will teach.

I’ll have three sections of American Literature and two sections of Honors British Literature. I’m also taking over the Journalism class, which was undersubscribed so will be a club activity this year, allowing me time to rebuild interest for the 2018-19 school year.

While the American Lit is very familiar given what I have taught previously, the British works were a daunting collection of titles drawn from the canon. Some, like Beowulf, I have somehow never read. Others, such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, I had not read since college.

So, for the last two weeks, I have read or reread all the British works to familiarize myself with them and have set about figuring out lessons and sequences. I have the first three weeks largely mapped out and lessons built, so that’s comforting.

There’s going to be a lot of things familiar yet different from the school-issued laptop to the online gradebook to how to operate this brand of copier, none of which I had to know as a sub. I’m hopeful the students will be happy to see me August 24 because I certainly will be delighted to welcome them to room 223.

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