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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pre School Year Jitters

I don't think I've ever posted at this point in the school year before. To recap, I'm coming up on year seven of this delightful and terrifying profession.

I appreciate that I get the opportunity to totally start over every year. And I don't even have to go to the trouble to press RESET and pay a new quarter.

Today I looked around my classroom and realized it is TOTALLY TRICKED OUT. Smartboard. Document camera. TI Navigator. (Really, Nowak, you have no excuses. None.) Gigantic Darth Vader poster. (Fun Miss Nowak fact: my childhood dog was an all-black ChouChou/shephard mix, with a black tongue. Named Darth Vader. We just called him Darth. He was great.)

I have things to complain about. My Regents classes that are supposed to be a healthy mix of accelerated and not kids are pretty much totally NOT. Out of 54 Geometry kids, I have one 9th grader. ONE. Out of 42 Trig kids, I have four 10th graders. FOUR. I don't know if this is some kind of conspiracy or scheduling fluke or what, but this year is not going to be a walk in the park from the classroom management or instructional perspective. NOT. But they're in my computer scheduling thingie and I can see their names and pictures. And I love them a little already. And I can't bring myself to object although I realize Guidance is probably trying to see how far they can push me. Now, when I can only speculate about them. By reputation. Much like they're looking at my name on their schedule, and making predictions about me, by reputation. She's hard. She's easy. She's a bitch. She's awesome. Just make her laugh. Just be yourself. You're doomed. There is hope.

I posed an inservice class to my department that was basically "us hanging out and working collaboratively on difficult math with maybe food" and they were totally on board. I wrote up a proposal and sent it in. That class is going to be amazing if it gets approved. And maybe if it works and I'm a little bit lucky it will change the way we teach and change the nature of what the children learn.

Since something like 90% of our faculty are new in the last five years, our new-ish principal wants to open discussions of just about everything, including scheduling and grading. We talked about it in small cross-discipline faculty groups this morning, and that experience surprisingly did not leave me in abject despair. I gingerly broached my lunatic-academic-fringe stance on grading and they did not treat me as if I were radioactive.

Shocking!

You're doomed!

There is hope!

9 comments:

  1. "I posed an inservice class to my department that was basically "us hanging out and working collaboratively on difficult math with maybe food" and they were totally on board." ...

    Sounds a lot like http://mathteacherscircle.org -- maybe there's one in your area that you can team up with? Japheth Wood at Bard college might be the best starting point.

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  2. Re: Vader Poster

    1 thumbs up. It would be two, but opportunities were missed to pun on "no disintegrations". ;)

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  3. WHERE DID YOU GET THAT POSTER?!?!?!!? I want one!

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  4. I'm so jealous of your document camera and that Facebook of your kids. I really want to know all of them! We got our lists today. I t didn't seem real until now.

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  5. I second that! Where did you get that poster?

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  6. Must. Get. Poster.

    Absolutely awesome.

    I feel in the same boat as you. I also looked around my room today and saw everything at my disposal. This year is probably the most nervous I've been (and unsure of my new direction) in my 12 years of teaching since Year 1.

    My physics teacher friend and I are doing a combined Physics/Calc block class this year (Physiculus) and will be blogging about it starting this weekend. We've got EPIC SBG spreadsheets created that we want to try (okay...we NEED to try since we made them), and we're ready to take our students on the ride.

    Good luck to you this year! And may the force be with you :)

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  7. So, I made the poster by following instructions in this post: http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=348 As with most of my good things, I just stole it wholesale. I'd recommend maybe not going as big as I did (mine is 7x7 sheets of copier paper) because it took about three hours to put together and hang up.

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  8. The power to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of KATE NOWAK!

    p.s. I second Joshua Zucker on the wisdom of getting in touch with Japheth Wood re: math teacher circle.

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  9. My favorite sentence out of this whole fantastic post:

    I gingerly broached my lunatic-academic-fringe
    stance on grading and they did not treat me as if
    I were radioactive.

    This tells me there is hope in a new year.

    - Elizabeth (aka @cheesemonkeysf on Twitter)

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Hi! I will have to approve this before it shows up. Cuz yo those spammers are crafty like ice is cold.