Tuesday, January 26, 2010

i have been told today by my departing colleague that my advisory has already been taken away from me. THANK GOD. although it's kind of strange that the position still hasn't been posted yet and the administration hasn't said a word to me about deaning yet. but if i were on the other side of the fence and wanted the position i'd be extremely upset.

it will not, however, be a reality until i hear it direct from the the higher ups.

something i'm mulling over though is that my colleague asked if i want to take over his classroom. he's directly across from the main office so if issues came up he could quickly take or make a phone call or print out a suspension letter. my classroom is in the main teaching corridor but not near any office or computer or phone. it would be an advantage to move to his old classroom, but i there are a few things to consider:

a) it would be a huge hassle to move my entire classroom, take down student work and bulletin boards, move my bookcases and textbooks, and empty my lockers and cabinets.
b) i just got new oversized desks and don't want to give them up, nor do i want to inconvenience the custodial staff and make them switch two classrooms.
c) many of the students are emotional about my colleague leaving. i feel weird taking over his position as well as his room when everyone knows i have my own room already. i don't want to give the students any more reason to be resentful towards me.

but should i really care? am i being too meek and overly sensitive towards others? ugh whatever. maybe i'll stay put just for this semester and then i can always move rooms over the summer if i feel it will be easier.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

out with the old... possibly.

My dear colleague is leaving next week and will only be with us for a maximum of 3 more days.

Although the position for data specialist hasn't been posted yet, I've been told it's mine. There's only one other person who might apply, but I know the administration wants me for it. I'm nervous about going to network meetings and schmoozing with all of the higher ups at the district but it's good for me. My ultimate goal is to become an administrator so this can only help me grow and learn professionally.

The school will also need a new dean now. My colleague has been pushing for me to consider it for a while and I felt it wasn't for me. However, I teach a godawful advisory class 4 days a week and would do anything to get out of it. I really struggle with the class and would not mind whoring myself out to ditch it.

As dean, I would be able to get rid of one of my classes to take care of paperwork and other issues. So now I'm sure I will be applying for the position and am hoping I get it. Anything to get out of advisory!

I spent almost 2 hours this afternoon learning everything about being data specialist and doing dean work. I know all the computer stuff and how to take care of paperwork. I've got it down. I learned about the budget for the different positions and for my data team staff. I'm not worried about any of this. What I am worried about is standing in the hallways and ensuring order. And earning the respect of all the students. I don't have enough confidence with this.

I have some big shoes to fill and I'm nervous. But everyone starts somewhere. I'm just going to jump in head first and go for it.

As for dean, I've been told that there are 2 other people who might apply. The administration was unsure of who they wanted but I'm the only one who has been trained on the back end aspect which is valuable. I also have the school secretary on my side and she's thisclose with the principal. She's sold on my ideas to change our ineffective detention center.

So here's hoping I can get rid of my advisory, something I've been trying to do since my very first week as a teacher!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

my disjointed year

last year i felt that the prentice hall textbook presented integrated algebra in such a disjointed fashion that i attempted to reorganize the curriculum this year. i don't think i've made any major improvements though and approximately half way through the year, i still have a ton of ground to cover.

so far i've done:

writing expressions and equations
solving equations
ratios and proportions
function tables
scatter plots
graphing lines
slope and y-intercept
solving systems of equations graphically and algebraically
properties of real numbers

so far i have to do:
data analysis (MOCT, types of data, presentations of data)
inequalities (understanding and graphing)
systems of inequalities
working with exponents and scientific notation
polynomials (adding, subtracting, and multiplying)
pythagorean theorem
simplifying square roots
trigonometric ratios

i'm skipping rational expressions for now...

i'm not so sure i'm going to be able to fit this all in by mid-may. somehow last year i was incredibly ahead of where i am now.

what i'm hoping is since my kids are now mavens at graphing, the inequality and parabola sections will go super fast. i'm really nervous!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bittersweet news

There is a teacher at my school who I really look up to. He is younger than me, but is in his 5th year. We always have gotten along great and he really helped me learn the ropes of the whole school system. Unofficially, he has been my mentor.

He has always talked very highly of me to the administration and introduced me to important people. He also pushed me to coordinate the inquiry team for my grade and has nudged me into other leadership roles since he saw great potential.

I love working with him for another reason; we challenge each other intellectually. We are both highly competitive and push each other to be the best we can be. And aside from that, we compete in silly games and make bets and just generally make work a lot more enjoyable.

He has been looking for an administrative position and today he let me know one of his interviewers called back and he's been offered an AP position to begin within 2 weeks. I am sooooo happy for him, but also quite sad to see him go. He will be sorely missed.

He thinks I should be happy that he's leaving because he's also vacating a slew of per session positions for me to fill (to the tune of about $20K/yr.) And god knows I need the money. But I'm not so sure I'm ready to fill his shoes. I only just ran my first PD for the school today and was enjoying easing into various leadership roles. This is all so sudden.

I'm nervous, scared, and already missing a good friend dearly before he has even left.

Monday, January 11, 2010

bad day

omg today was semi-hellish.

of 4 classes that i taught, 3 were absolutely horrid (the sole exception being the CTT class because apparently i have some natural skill with them.) i wanted to make at least 20 phonecalls home this afternoon but i had no free periods. instead i had a mandatory PD meeting at the end of the day.

so of course tomorrow the kids will be just as bad since they "got away" with their bad behavior today as i had no way of calling home. thankfully tomorrow i have the last 2 hours of the day free so i will be on the phone and hopefully make some sort of impact.


i'm not going to even bother starting from september again in regards to rule enforcement because i have 1 week to go until finals. in another day these kids will be working in groups with review materials and it's up to them if they want to pass or fail. i've temporarily resigned from helping them at this point.

after finals is regents week so there's no school, and then the new semester starts at which point i will go back to basics with the rules. until then it's just survival.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I never got a chance to relax or rest during christmas break, so my first week back was pretty miserable. I guess the kids were also a bit off the wall and things didn't start looking up til around Thursday.

I started a new practice this week which is so obvious, I don't know what took me so long to do it! The topic I'm doing now easily lends itself to a long answer section of the Regents. So I put up my own 4-point Regents rubric on the board, encouraging the kids to get a point or 2 even if they're pretty clueless (as I go over the rubric, I teach them the tricks to earn partial credit even with minimal knowledge.)

The students are eating it up! For about 30 minutes I give the class multiple examples to work on either independently or with their groups and as they finish each one I give them a rubric grades. Kids who I usually get no work from are getting 1 or 2 points, and the really sever special ed students are also able to get at least 2 points using what I taught them.

I've found this to be particularly helpful for my CTT class, because everyone can get involved and see some measure of success, but at the same time the high achieving students strive for perfect 4's and with the immediate grading, they compete with each other for the perfect 4s, and look for errors and correct the work right away when they get anything less.

Ok so speaking of CTT, there was a big meeting on Friday with the principal, AP of special ed, the special ed teacher, 2 paras, the secretary, and guidance counselor. They discussed how the CTT class isn't working well and changes needed to be made next semester. They asked the CTT teacher if they saw the class working well in any subject and she said that only in my class are the SPEDs making progress while the gen ed kids are doing as well as, or better than when they started back in september. she pointed out that they work particularly well in groups in my class, and that i maintain a competitive enviroment that encourages the lower function students to achieve while engaging the higher functioning ones.

I wasn't at this meeting; I had no idea it was even taking place. But for the rest of the afternoon random people came up to me to tell me what a "hit" i was at the SPED meeting. Pretty awesome.

So last week started terribly (I mean there had to be at least 10 times a day that I just stood there staring at my students not knowing what to do because they were so bad!) but it ended pretty successfully. We'll see how next week goes.