One-eighth of the Year to Go

Amel & Danehsa 2014The march to the inevitable continues apace. Yesterday, we closed the first half of the fourth quarter and I stayed late to make sure every paper turned in was graded and all the interim grades were entered before Monday’s deadline. Additionally, I had to crunch the numbers across the quarters to compile a list of those in danger of failing the course based on grades and the final.

I had not done any sort of serious data analysis as yet, largely because the software is cumbersome and a snapshot per student isn’t as easy as it should be (an issue I’m told is being resolved with next year’s new grading software, BCPS One). I watched many climb to reach peaks in the third quarter and was stunned to see how many have slacked off in the fourth quarter. Not just those who already were notified their three failing quarters means summer school or repeating the course, but those who seem to have stopped working.

I created my Top 5 list; the best students based on grades alone, for each class then crunched some numbers to find the Top 5 Most Improved. Here, I struggled, finding minimal growth in some class and many slid backward.

The two seniors in my freshman class and eight seniors in my junior class all took their finals yesterday and they leave me after Friday. I have to say, I will many of them and with luck it means I can work with the slightly smaller classes and get things done.

Jiel & Sheila 2014I’m also finding my workload thinning as we wend our way towards year end. It means I am finding myself thinking more about next year, what to do differently, how to adjust for block scheduling, and the like. I’ve already gathered up the 10th grade reading I need to do this summer since I have only read two of the books I’ll be teaching. I’m also putting the final touches on a website where all my students will find resources come September as well as sketching out how best to approach Creative Writing.

I’ve already had to fill out my personal evaluations and will sit with my department chair this week and the principal in the coming weeks to get a sense of how they feel my year went and what needs to be my improvement priorities for next year. I’m told I will walk into class next year with increased confidence once I get that first year out of the way and that’s something I look forward to.

While I feel warmly connected to my English peers, the next step is to form more ties with other teachers and find some places where I can contribute to the school environment. As staff leaves and opportunities arise, I hope some natural fit will appear. But for now, it’s tidying up the work, trying out the modified block schedule come the 19th and getting my underclassmen ready for their finals with the essay coming that week and multiple choice portion coming three weeks later.

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