Tuesday, September 29, 2009

it's been three weeks

since school started. and i'm very happy with how things are going. this new crop of ninth graders seems really eager to please. it might be due, in part, to how i'm presenting myself, but i actually think they're worlds better than last year's freshman.

i spent the first week on rules and procedures, with a little math here and there. in the past two weeks, my kids have learned how to handle fractions, write algebraic expressions, fill out function tables, plot points, graph simple lines using tables, and graph scatterplots with the line of best fit and recognize correlations. i'm going to take the rest of the week slow, practice, review with regent's questions, and give my first full test next week. i'm toying with the idea of introducing slope already. i know it's something most of my students found difficult in middle school so i might wait.

one student completely defied me today in front of the entire class and then a hallway full of kids. luckily i have enough of a paper trail on him to get him suspended. i didn't think of logging every little thing last year, but i see now how it gives me leverage to really reign down on these kids. now i'll use him as an example so that the other student don't think they can get one over on me like that.

i guess i'm really lucky to have a super supportive dean and administration. i simply said i need this kid suspended, told them what i had on him, and they got right to it. it really scares me to think about what some of my colleagues go through in a less supportive environment. i don't think i'd ever last.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

this year is already starting off better, for one reason only: i know what i want.

i know exactly what type of classroom I want to run and how to shape things to get there. last year i had some vague ideas but i just went with the flow and took it all in.

last year was successful. but in order to reach my goals for this year, i need more instructional time. i can imagine that all the times i had to call out a kid for a behavior issue, plus all the times the entire class dragged because they weren't doing what they were told, added up to a couple of weeks worth of time.

i'm hoping the systems i put in place this year work to eliminate a lot of these problems so we can have more time for Regent's review at the end of the year. I'm actually aiming to add 2.5 weeks onto what I did last year.

so far kids are actually asking permission to leave their seats for EVERYTHING... throwing out garbage, and even for spitting out gum!! the school counselor told me one of her students already complained that he got in trouble in my class. i walked down the aisle past a different student and she literally jumped. today when i wanted their silence for the first time and certain students were still talking, the rest of the class stared at them in shock. another student told them "silence!" they were afraid. I'M NOT TRYING TO SCARE THEM!!! but apparently i am instilling fear which is a good thing. i'll definitely loosen up once they're in the routine of doing what they should.

i have also called home for one student already and sent a letter home for a parental conference. i foresee having to call at least 2 other homes tomorrow. i seriously would have never done this last year because these misbehaviors didn't bother me. but i'm all about putting my foot down in the beginning and i hope all these parents don't hate me!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

school starts in the morning!

i want to be in work within 6 hours.

what in the world am i still doing up then???

i was super prepared this year. had my opening letter, quiz, and powerpoint done a week ago. i have the first week entirely planned. i even reorganized the curriculum a bit and mapped out a year long plan attacking the different units, with timelines.

i look forward to being super strict this year. i posted rules and consequences in my room today, more as a reminder to myself to be consistent and follow through with my actions.

it was suggested to me to become a dean at my school. i never thought that would be me, but apparently the current dean sees it in me. anything to get rid of my damned advisory class... so i will practice being no nonsense this semester, both in my class and in the hallways.

final topic: i need a new blog name. "first year experiment" worked well last year but it no longer holds true for me. i know i don't have a large readership, but if anyone has any suggestions i'd like to hear them.

happy teaching to all!