After extra time to prepare, the school year began in earnest on Thursday.
I have five freshmen classes and it’s interesting as their personalities are starting to take shape. Overall, four are quiet and tentative. There’s one that really got into my icebreaker questions on Thursday which gives me hope for a lively class.
I had between six and ten students per class each of the two days, one Blue one White. They all loved being out of the house and back to something familiar, even if it was a new school and uniforms. That positive attitude will help a lot.
On the other hand, I’ve had some technical issues. In my third class on Thursday, I couldn’t get the sound settings to stick so I kept getting muted. On the second day, with greater frequency, the kids at home were saying they couldn’t hear me. As a result, after classes ended, I went to our IT guru and got a Bluetooth headset to try out on Tuesday.
Academically, it was a mixed bag. I showed them where to find things, like all the passwords and logins to numerous sites I wanted to them to use but still got questions. I posted other instructions and still got questions so I need to keep directing them to the resources to train them into self-sufficiency.
My other class is the juniors, who won’t be coming back in until the beginning of the second quarter. They all dutifully login and we’ve begun discussing the British canon and what they know about the people, its history, and culture. Armed with that, I know what gaps to fill in. It’ll be hard to get to know them beyond a series of tiny squares on my screen but I’ll find a way.
The real teaching begins Tuesday and I’ll be curious to see what happens as we dive into the curriculum.
With three-quarters of the school population at home, along with numerous teachers who don’t need to be in the building, it feels emptier. I certainly miss seeing my colleagues, especially the other three English teachers.
But, after a summer of my preparation, and the administration readying the building, we’re underway. No doubt there will be continual adjustments to be made on my part and on the students’ part, but we’re finally underway and that feels good.