Thursday, September 01, 2005

dark clouds

this year smells of funk and discontented teachers. we don't have our textbooks yet. i'm supposed to get them next week, the fourth week of school. the district is struggling over teacher pay and the issue of school finance is going to the state supreme court. something is off. teachers are murmuring that things do not feel right.

i'm also feeling funky because of the situation in the gulf area. it's devastating. i've been donating but it's not enough. it's just not enough.

my kids have relatives that are stuck in attics, relatives their families can't locate. we talk about the hurricane carefully.

i'll give my update on the colony projects later. they went pretty well. i graded them and hung them in the hall. kids absolutely love to see their work up, even those who pretend they don't care crane their necks to get a peek.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

overanalyze this!

I tend to worry a lot (raucous laughter in background and a shout, "Understatement!"). My latest anxiety stems from my experiences with my old students during last week. Many of my old kids sought me out to tell me that they missed me and loved me. In fact, I ran into a group of girls who asked me why I didn't pick them to be in my classes this year. Apparently they were under the impression that teachers pick their students rather than the scheduling program launched from an office computer. I explained this to them and said some encouraging words about their new teachers. "Well," one girl said, "Everyone is bragging who got you. Joe keeps saying 'What what! I got MH!' and he's rubbing it in everybody's faces."

This makes me feel good. And then I start to worry: Do I care too much about what the kids think of me? Am I motivated by whether the kids like me or whether they learn? I don't want to be one of those teachers who the kids love but whom teaches nothing. It's like some people come to school to relive their high school years. I am not one of those people. Plus, what happens if the kids stop liking me as much, when I'm not "in touch" with the kids? Is my self-esteem wrapped up in what the kids think of me, or the job I think I am doing? Does anyone else reflect on stuff like this or am I consumed by my anxious thoughts?

As for the 13 colonies project, which began on Wednesday, it seems to be going pretty well. The two things I'm pleased with are the Cornell notes they took regarding the hand-out about the colonies, which forces them to actually synthesize the information, and the persuasive writing they must use for their advertisement. While walking around the classroom I heard kids coming up with funny and creative slogans and arguing over the best way to manipulate their information. It's really cool to see the kids interacting and focused on academic material.

As far as teaching a new subject: I forgot how much work it is to start all over. I'm absolutely exhausted. And we haven't gotten our textbooks yet, lest I forget to mention that.