I seem to be getting the hang of teaching. On the other hand, I am still struggling with wrangling the kids and not wasting time endlessly repeating myself or trying to keep them quiet and focused. To that end, this past week an in house professional development resource and I jointly observed my fellow ninth grade teacher. Later in the day, he then observed me with my most boisterous class. Afterwards, he had pages of notes and many constructive ideas. With luck, I can practice with some of them, and slowly integrate them into the overall lesson.Baltimore County has been added several layers of support for new teachers which I find smart and useful. In house we have one man dedicated to working with all teachers one-on-one in addition to making certain our professional development days are relevant ones. Additionally, a new position was created so I also have a mentor. Even though she’s based in Newtown High School, she covers four buildings and a handful of teachers. We’ve met several times and she will be doing several unannounced drop in observations which will give me fresh perspective. Meantime, we’ve discussed areas that work for me and where I’m still coping.Additionally, our ESOL chair and I have been discussing the large number of ESOL students in my period 7 class, the boisterous one. As she placed one more student in there the other day, I cried uncle so she too will pay a visit and see what she can suggest.It’s terrific to have all this support so I can figure out what will work and have feedback from experienced hands. Similarly, on Friday there were no classes. We had the option of attending the state teachers’ convention or come to school. Most of us opted for the latter and we looked forward to a day of planning and grading. The five eleventh grade teachers spent an hour examining the two big projects remaining in the first unit and identified what made sense, what needed modifying and how likely they’d all be done before the quarter ended. Since it’s a new curriculum, we’re all feeling our way through it and it’s nice that we’re talking.Grading for hours on end was mind-numbing but it felt great to thin out the folders for each class and I walked out of there at 5, far later than I had hoped, but am in terrific shape as we begin a new week.As mentioned on Facebook the other day, the week’s educational highlight was receiving word that I passed the Praxis II exam for social studies, meaning I can now be certified to teach a second subject. That opens up my – and Owings Mills’ — options for the future.