One Week Down

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The 2018-19 school year began on Tuesday and this year, I will be teaching six classes. Like last year, I have three sections of American Literature but only one section of Honors British Literature, and one section of standard British Literature, plus Journalism. Unfortunately, I had only seven students for the elective, but it lays a good foundation for the future.Day one found me prepped, ready, and delighted to see faces break into smiles when they saw me. I was warmly greeted by many of las year’s students and began introducing myself to the somewhat nervous sophomores as they filed in for the first class.We did icebreakers which was vital considering we had a fair number of transfer students in each class. I skipped reviewing the syllabus but focused on big picture issues.The second day we began reviewing what the courses were about. We talked about identifying the American Dream and what the British canon meant and how we consumed news.The other two days began actual lessons. As my sophomores took notes, one observed this was going to be a hard class, which made me laugh. I figured I was easing into the year so I think we each need to adjust our expectations.While things went well for the most part, I grew frustrated at the number of times I had to repeat information because they weren’t writing assignments down or using our portal to see the posted work. Also, we’re a 1:1 to school and too many didn’t have their devices or had excuses why they wouldn’t have anything for weeks if not months. That makes it challenging to deliver the lessons I planned.And there was the class that admitted on Friday not a single student read the six-page story I assigned for homework. We have some work to do.Still, four days in, we’re underway and finding our rhythms. My standard junior class is my largest at 28 students with most being students I taught last year. We know each other well, and I hope they recognize it’s time to grow up and get serious about their learning.Meantime, my English peers and I are planning news clubs and field trips and other things to enrich the school year. I am optimistic it will be a strong second year at Pallotti.


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