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I’m still processing and reflecting on everything that happened this year. It was definitely a very long, difficult one. I’m sure there are all kinds of things I should have learned from it, but I can only recall being extremely tired. Summer school starts in less than two weeks and I have a lot going on between now and then, so I’m not sure I will get a chance to really think about all of it, but it’s definitely on my to-do list.
We had a little end-of-the-year lunch today sponsored by administration. This was the first one they ever had and it was very nice. Sometimes (most of the time) I really love working in such a small environment because it really does feel like a big happy (sometimes dysfunctional!) family. I really do work with great people.
Next week I will be going with some of my co-workers on a curriculum “retreat” to map out curriculum for next year. We write all of our own curriculum over two campuses with little by way of guidelines, so it should make things run a lot more smoothly with some kind of map. Writing curriculum, in my opinion, is both fun and overwhelming. I love doing it, but sometimes I get lost in all the possibilities of it. It is definitely one of the best parts of working for an alternative school.. I get to be really creative in my teaching.
I hope you are all hanging in there and making the most of the time you have left with your students! I know this time of the year is tiring, but remember that your students are just as tired as you. If you stay positive, they will follow your lead.
My seniors are leaving tomorrow.
As much as I’m ready for them to be done, or rather I’m done with their being done, I grew really attached to this group of kids. They cracked me up, they challenged me, they loved me unconditionally even when I was replacing a legendary teacher in the school who was beloved by all. Their class was a really, really, great group (thank goodness I get to keep my juniors!) Because of all that, this will be me tomorrow:
"This is a test, not a learning activity"
That may or may not be directly quoted from the official proctoring materials of my state’s standardized exams.
Sums it up, doesn’t it?
In addition to missing class time to test, and missing planning time to proctor, I’ve also been missing my paraeducator on days when my own students have been in my class because he is busy working the accommodations testing room. Meanwhile, I have a classroom full of IEP students who are also entitled to accommodations…
And I just got an e-mail from my ESOL co-teacher telling me she’s missing Friday because of testing and a couple of days next week. So that means this Friday I will have neither special education support or ESOL support in a classroom where literally every single student receives one or both of those services.
A brief senior prank tutorial
A senior prank is:
- humorous without being offensive
- clever and creative without being destructive
- well-thought out without being too twee
- memorable without being infamous
- inclusive without being cliquish
A senior prank is not:
- giving the already-overwhelmed janitorial staff any more work or stress
- setting out to deface and destroy school property
- causing your peers and teachers to feel ashamed to come to campus
- creating an environment where learning cannot happen
- making anyone feel unsafe or fearful as a result of your actions
Chicago School Board closes 49 schools, largest closing in US history
Chicago Tribune: After hearing from aldermen, angry parents and community members in a meeting interrupted several times by protesters, the Chicago Board of Education approved a plan to close 49 elementary schools and one high school program.
The board voted 4-2 to close Von Humboldt Elementary, then unanimously approved the rest of the closings in a single vote.
Before that, the board voted 6-0 to approve a last-minute recommendation by the district to spare four elementary schools.
After more than two hours of public comments, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and board members defended the plan to close the highest number of schools the city has ever shut down in a single year.
The district says it needs to close schools to address a looming $1 billion deficit and declining enrollment.
More from the Tribune here.
I know you don’t like me right now. You have an essay due at the end of the week. It’s the end of the marking period. You are SO CLOSE to graduation. And you hate me for making you actually do work. I get it. I understand what you’re going through. I was in your shoes not too long ago. However, one day, maybe six months from now, or even years down the road, you will thank me for making you work until the end. I am pushing you towards the finish line harder, rather than let you finish at a snail’s pace. Why? Because I know you can do it, and because I care about you.
Ultimately, the choice is yours over the next few weeks: finish strong or check out. Nobody can make that choice for you. Not even me. But know that I believe in you and I’m here to support and guide you.
Remember: Attitude is everything.
I lost it.
Yearbooks were handed out today, which as you all know, is exciting in the lives of middle schoolers. During my 5th period, which is my precious 8th graders, I was asked to sign them all (and I really mean them ALL). While signing them, all I could think about was how much they have grown from last year to this year with me… which led to me eventually breaking down in tears IN CLASS. They all stared at me and were whispering to each other “is she really crying???” Then, to break the ice, one of my handsome little smarty-pants says “Wow, we finally see she has a heart…” to which I even laughed. Those students are my babies, and I love them dearly. Thank goodness the high school is still part of the school as a whole. If they were leaving, I think I would be WAY more dramatic.
1.5 days left.
a big, beautiful grain of salt
Standardized test scores are what they are: an incomplete to misleading snapshot. I believe that. And yet, when good ones come back, my inner Lisa Simpson still feels validated. Pleased. Nearly proud.
I think, if anything, that’s evidence of a problem. But at the moment I really don’t care.