Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another week for looking forward

It's Sunday, and I am anticipating another week.  My students get a 3-day weekend; the faculty get a Monday ride to Charlotte for diocesan development.  I am not looking forward to the bus ride, but the inservice should be fine.  It never hurts to learn and relearn what I need to be teaching.  In my case, there is always one outstanding question: do I go to the high school math seminar or the K-12 technology seminar?  I usually go to the technology seminar since we have a total of 5 math teachers, myself included.  We shall see.

Last week seemed to be spring break for many of our alumni now in college.  There were several who showed up at the school last week.  I enjoyed spending a long time talking about college computer science with one of my former AP CS students.  After school on Friday, 2 more former Honors CS students came by to chat.  Frankly, I really don't remember them in Hons CS, but I do remember them in Algebra 2 (Honors or not, I cannot remember).  It's good to see them grow into their future, and it's great to know that my work was not in vain.  I think every teacher needs that now and then.

I chaperoned the Junior Class Retreat on Thursday and discovered that I have reached that age when I find I am older than I feel.  I jumped off a short wall with less grace than I expected to have.  My left leg landed fine, but my right leg kept on going to the knee.  Nothing really hurt but my pride and a small bruise.  Now I understand about those older people who try to do something again that they used to do well and end up with a broken bone.  Henceforth, all jumping off short walls will be done where the landing area is soil and not concrete ... just in case.

I'm back to feeling like a grading automaton.  If I'm not grading math, I'm grading programs.  If I'm not grading anything, I'm writing lesson plans.  It's just one or the other.  I also try to fit exercise into all of this, plus ironing my clothes and washing bathrooms and anything else I feel like doing at home to keep things in sync.  No wonder when the school year ends, I find myself at a loss for about a week with little structure in my life. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Another day, another ...

My alarm clock, i.e. my cat (my electric alarm clock is only a backup for when the cat can't wake me for her breakfast), starts my day.  The important things first: feed the cat!  Then I continue through my morning ritual:  start the coffee, start the oatmeal, take the meds, eat the oatmeal, drink the coffee, shower, and dress.  Only trouble today was the fact that I forgot not to get my hair wet since it's my off-day for washing my hair.  Not a good way to start the day. 

Since I must wait for my son, a.k.a. my carpool, I get on the internet to check out what is happening with my high school friends, college friends, and my extended family.  After which, I cringe and get on my school's email site.  It's not too bad this morning, but there have been mornings that started out with a parent's tirade.  I hate that, but, being a parent myself, I understand it, too.  Now, all I have to do is get to the school to continue the day of a teacher.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Substitute teaching days

When I finished working for my initial teaching license, I started substitute teaching at a local public high school.  My experiences showed me that substitute teaching should be a composite part of teacher training.  I learned so much from the regular teachers such as having a folder for make up work for missing students;  it makes helping students catch up so much easier.  (Now, I want to create some locked "box" where students can put their make up work.  Currently, the make up work gets mixed in with the on-time work.)

Some things I figured out on my own, and I use them for those who substitute for me now.  Not only do I include seating charts in my substitute folder, but I include seating charts with student photographs.  It is so easy for the substitute to know the students by sight.  Never underestimate the power of knowing someone's name when they are starting to make trouble.

One thing I didn't understand then was the difficulty of getting a math substitute.  At that school, one of the math teachers found out that I was licensed in secondary mathematics, and she got me to substitute for a conference day.  She said that she could never get someone to substitute who knew math.  The day came, and it was a rather easy task since math was one of my fields of expertise.  The situation of getting a substitute with math skills became apparent during the last class of the day.  An algebra 4 student came to me with a question about a problem on the worksheet.  I worked it out on the whiteboard with him.  He went back to his seat, and I overheard this conversation:  "Did she know the answer?"  "Not only did she know the answer; she knew how to work the problem!" 

I'm remembering all this because I will be out on the Junior class retreat on March 8, and I have asked a former math teacher to sub for me.  She can do all the math stuff.  The computer science classes will just have to work in the labs without me.  Maybe I can get the tech coordinator to do his "why not use wifi" presentation in the Honors CS class. Hmm.