Three Quarters Down

Bob After School 2014Suddenly, the third quarter is over. On the calendar it was always the shortest quarter since there was only one scheduled vacation day so add in a few snow days and two hour delays and just like that, it’s behind me. It also means I am now three-quarters of the way through my first year teaching and that fact alone astounds me.

Day by day I go in, plan and teach, deal with students and administrative responsibilities and it feels like being on a treadmill. But every now and then, I pause, look around and realize what has been accomplished. I also realize a lot of the comments I have been receiving from my consulting teacher, our in house professional development guru and peers have been more positive. While they have always been supportive, earlier they were tempered with a lot of constructive criticism. Now, I’m getting good notes on certain elements of the teaching experience so I guess I’m on my way. Tomorrow, I sit with my principal and CT for my summative review, held in case there’s something to be adjusted. I look forward to that dialogue.

I also find myself in that odd position of looking ahead short-term and long-term. I’m sitting here today trying to figure out how much I can realistically stuff into the final quarter of 11th grade English while 9th is already settled with a little wiggle room at the end for final tweaks. Meantime, I am already making the first tentative stabs at next year’s schedule. It appears I will have 2 sections of Honors 10, 2 sections of Honors 11, 1 section of standard 11 and Creative Writing. The biggest challenge for next year will be adapting to block scheduling although the longer class periods should allow me to work in more grammar and writing than I have this year.

But, looking back a bit, I also see many of my freshmen finally coming to the realization that everything I told them on August 26 was true. This year did count. Their choices did bring consequences and now they have to live with those decisions. Unfortunately, as I prepare to enter the grades, it will also require a significant number of those freshmen to repeat English 9. In these last weeks there has been a rush to turn in late work, even after my one week amnesty, One even had the gall to suggest she would turn in all the missing work on Monday as if that was acceptable.

With a quarter left, I am trying several new tactics that I have seen work elsewhere, while also tightening up on the existing rules and procedures. It’s time to get the students into the mindset that their next year will be that much tougher, be it 10th grade or senior year. Time to grow up a bit more and with luck, that will help me combat the impending summer haze. Thankfully, my room has no windows so they can’t be distracted by the improving weather.

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