Nine days into the school year... how's it going?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Aliceacc, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 14, 2013

    We've just finished our first FULL week of school. I figured we were due for a discussion of how it's going.

    I have 4 Algebra Honors classes, and a couple of rotating, once a cycle Math SAT prep classes.

    I'm enjoying my kids this year. I'm still struggling with all the names. Yesterday I gave them a worksheet to work on (operations with integers) while I stared them down and tried to memorize their names. (Though I wish I had thought of that in time for first period!!) By the end of my 3 later clases, I was able to walk away from the seating chart and name everyone by first name. I think that some of the quieter kids were surprised that I knew their names as well as the ones who answer more often. I told them that I might get confused in the hallway, and that I wasn't promising I would get them right on Monday, but for this brief shining moment, I knew them all. It's something I'm really not good at, but I realize how vital it is for every kid to know that I recognize him or her as an individual identiy. So I'm working on it... I'll do it again Tuesday as they take their first test.

    In terms of behavior, I haven't had anything close to an issue. They're a delightful group of kids. My Junior SAT classes tend to know me, so they're kind enough to laugh at my jokes. And they already realize that I know my stuff, so that class will once again be fun to teach.

    I have a Senior study hall, composed of all Honors kids half the time, with an additional group of the lowest level Seniors on alternating days( and the lone 7th grader in with the Honors kids.) They've also been a delight. (One kid complained yesterday that he was hot. I agreed that "I imagine all the young women think so." They laughed, and I made some lifelong friends with that comment. I'm going to enjoy them.)

    I think my biggest challenge for this year will be continuing to find ways to keep the material fresh for my Algebra kids. I do want to incorporate videos for homework once or twice a week... not a total "flip" but more of a "slow rollover." I'm working on finding resources. They were thrilled when I assigned a Cyberchase episode on Wednesday night. (It was 9/11, and I wasn't sure what was going on at home. I know that several have dads who are FDNY. So I was going for light hearted. And it actually did involve the topic I was teaching Thursday, though on a very elementary level.) Over the summer, when my prep was changed from Geometry to Algebra, I went online and found a couple of teachers who had "flipped" their Algebra classes. Both were kind enough to get back to me with some suggestions... I still have to go through that stuff.

    The other day, in mind-shattering hot humidity, I gave them group work to do.... with one caveat. I told them they HAD to work with someone they didn't know last year. (Up to 2/3 of some classes were in our school last year. I told them that I didn't want it to be "US' and "them"--- there was no more "them." It hasn't been an issue, but I wanted to address it anyway.) So they made some new friends, and didn't have to listen to me in the heat. All I could think of was the teacher in Peanuts... waaah, waaah waah... I'm someone who adores hot weather, but Wednesday had to have been one of the top 5 worst ever teaching days.

    I want to find topical, fun, interesting ways of supplementing what's in the textbook. I haven't taught Algebra in a couple of years, so I don't have anything from last year.

    NHS started off with a huge gaffe-- I got the date wrong for an assignment. I think (and hope and pray) it's all settled. The kids involved were very understanding, and we should be good to go. We have inductions in 2 weeks, so at that point I'll have a full compliment of about 600 kids to assign. Since I already know who will be inducted, I want to spend some time this weekend doing the year's scheduling.

    So.... how's it going for you?
     
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  3. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Sep 14, 2013

    Ok, I am elementary, but I will play.

    We are 22 days in ( I only know this because of our daily calendar work!)

    I switched grades this year , by choice, from fourth to second, and am adjusting to this. Many hugs and sticky fingers, lots of bounciness, and tons of enthusiasm!

    The hardest part is that my class is an added section of second, so my materials have been slowly trickling in. For most part it hasn't been an issue, but there is a mandated phonics program, and even though I went to training this summer until last week I had nothing to use and there are many, many kid and teacher items for the program. So I am "behind" my colleagues on that, but I have been teaching long enough not to panic too much.

    I don't love the switch yet, but I can tell I will very shortly. I just need a little more time to adjust.

    I did not get to move to the primary hall, so we are with the fourth and fifth graders; the only problem with this is that it is hard to talk with my team.

    Shaping up to be a great year.
     
  4. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Sep 14, 2013

    We are 4 weeks in.

    My students are really great. Well-behaved, engaged in class.

    This is the first semester in a LONG time that I haven't been taking grad classes. That is nice!

    I feel like I'm getting a good grasp on CommonCore and doing good things in class.
     
  5. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Sep 14, 2013

    We're one month in.

    I have the same schedule as last year, which is nice, but of course, we have a new curriculum map and we're using the CCSS full-time, so that's been a huge adjustment in terms of planning.

    My kids are sweet, but they are very babyish. I seem to have a lot of day dreamers, because even after a month of practicing procedures and giving one-step directions, repeated, and checked by a partner, I have a lot of kids who don't put their name on their paper, much less a proper heading. There's a lot of calling out, a lot of tattling, a lot of talking at inappropriate times. (This is 7th grade, BTW.)

    I had this same problem last year - a lot of kids trying to get me to give them answers on a quiz. A lot of kids who don't want to write anything down unless I tell them it's correct. It's a little worrisome that so many have a fear of not getting everything perfect all of them time.

    But! I'm doing Socratic Seminars this year, and my advanced classes are ready to try their first one this week. I'm pretty excited to see how they do. They've really taken to the idea, were really focused on the example videos I showed them, and gave very thoughtful feedback on the videos.

    The general mood in my building is a 180 from last year. Not that we actually have time to get everything done, or that there was a reduction in meetings, but most everyone seems happy with getting our steps and having some building issues taken care of. There's always someone who wants to complain about some tiny issue and make it into something huge, but for the most part, everyone is smiling.
     
  6. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Sep 14, 2013

    I teach grade 1, but we are off to a great start! My kids are enthusiastic, love to learn and care about each other. My weakest students aren't scary weak, so I'm excited to see how far they can go this year. My strong kids are really strong and I'm going to start some enrichment this week so they don't get bored and become unnecessary behavior problems. And my average kids are eager to learn and love school. A super start!
     
  7. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2013

    We are 5 days in. So far I seem to like my classes, although not like last year (the whole school agrees the 7th graders last year were far by the best class yet..makes me jealous of the 8th grade teachers this year).

    Regardless, I'm looking forward to a great year especially since ill be able to make my lessons from last year stronger. The students seem to remember the routines of the workshop model from last year which gives me some relief for when walkthroughs take place. They are also seeming to catch on quickly when I mean business and when I mean fun--makes it easy for me to just give the look without any verbal redirection

    Downfall to this year- we lost part of our second building for the year so we are sharing rooms. Mondays and Fridays I have no preps in my room which will be a challenge since I'm a little bit if a control and organization freak. At least I know the teachers who are using my room.

    Another con is my grad class-- the professor this year has piled a ton of pd work on us.

    I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and successful year!!!
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 14, 2013

    We just completed week 4. Next Tuesday starts week 5 (we have a 3-day weekend because it is Independence day on Sept 16th...Not May 5th, as so many seems to think, lol). My group is fantastic! I was not sure coming into this how my group would be because I have 3 kiddos with ADHD, and a small handful of very low kids (of which they begin pullout and inclusion from support services next week). In any case, this group listens well, follows instructions well, and are actually generally high, with the exception of the handful of lows. Yes, I think this will be a great year. :)
     
  9. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Sep 14, 2013

    I'll start with the negatives and end positive :)

    My class overall is better behaved than last year but I have 3 kids that will give me a run for my money. One little boy is low, low, low and cannot do the work. As a result, he is a pretty wild and has trouble following the rules. It's clear to me there's no structure at home. I met his mom very briefly. She is very young and single with 3 other younger kids at home. They are homeless :( I'm working with my PBIS coach and social worker to help get this boy structure and support. He wants to please me but I really don't think he understands how to behave.

    I have another boy who is totally deaf in one ear and seems profoundly deaf in the other. In looking through his files, his parents denied services last year. I can tell he needs help desperately. He is in his "own world" all the time because I don't think he can follow along. His off task behaviors make it really hard on the other kids. He and my other boy that struggle stick to each other like glue and it's a lot of putting out fires all day.

    I have another young lady struggling with a recent custody change and she's not handling it well at all. She bullies kids and refuses to do her assignments. She is drawing sexual pictures (as sexual as a 7 year old knows how) and is making lists of kids she's not friends with. The counselor is involved. Her father is super supportive and totally has my back.

    Behaviors aside, I am hating mCLASS! It's pretty much alllll I do all day. But I'm almost done! I think I have about 3 kids left, so I can finish by Thursday I hope. I will lose 2 afternoons due to an IEP and a doctor's appointment or I'd be done sooner.

    But I think the good outweighs the bad :D My team this year is amazing!! I really think we're top-notch. We plan, collaborate, support, cry, laugh, and celebrate together. It's completely a 180 from last year. Morale is also far better than last year. My P launched the year with some amazingly positive meetings and get-to-know-new-staff games and it really set a positive tone. He managed to get a team of volunteers from a local church to renovate a lot of our building with some new paint, light fixtures, etc and it just has a much warmer feel in the office area and conference rooms. People hang out in the lounge at lunch, something no one did last year.

    My expectations are a lot clearer this year than they were to my last year's class and it's slowly starting to pay off. We practice routines until they're perfect, even if it means being late to recess or whatever. I am staying firm and consistent. We need a lot more practice with the talking and playing in the afternoons but I'm seeing progress overall.

    On a scale of 1-10 I'd give my year a 9. Last year I'd have said a 3 :thumb:
     
  10. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Sep 14, 2013

    We just ended our 3rd week. We had a minor setback curriculum wise (put in all the paperworks to order copies of a new book, curriculum director left during the summer and didn't order them), but now we're finally back on track with a new book (that I like better!)

    Behavior started off great, but now some of them are starting to show their "true colors". We have one MAJOR behavior issue per class (all SPED). Then we have some other boys who are "too big for their britches", so to say. They're starting to think that they can run the class. My co-teacher and I have a solid plan to squash that thinking come Monday :)
     
  11. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2013

    I am about a month into the year. I moved up a grade this year so many of the students I had or at least knew last year. It made it easy to learn names!

    The kids all seem good for the most part. I have one class that is very very low. I also have a few classes that have a lot of talkers in them.

    Last year was my first year teaching advanced classes and honestly they weren't a whole lot different from my grade level classes. This year there is a much bigger difference between the two levels. For the most part the grade level is lower and the advanced is higher than what I experienced last year. This is good because it is a lot easier to differentiate the classes.

    Being the first year I am following the CCSS, and working with new teachers in planning has also been an experience. Some of the material overlaps with what I taught my first 4 years of teaching so that is good. I feel that my colleagues are trying to go through the material really fast though.

    It should be a good year.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sep 14, 2013

    Over a month in and having a good year!
     
  13. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2013

    We are 5 weeks in.

    My morning class is sweet, loves to learn, and follows directions well. There are a few particularly weak students that need extra support. I love my time with them.

    My afternoon class is sweet for the most part, but there are 4 cases of pretty extreme ADHD, another couple of 'class clown wannabes', and a little girl with a whole lot more sass than a third grader should have. I have to run a tight ship with them and make sure they are working every minute. This is the kind of class that if you give an inch, would take a mile.
     
  14. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Sep 14, 2013

    9 days in, 3 classes of WH2 on even days and 3 classes of US History on odd days.

    My classes are huge and just keep getting bigger, but kids seem to be fine. I have 5-6 that walked in with hateful attitudes, but 3-4 of them seem to have warmed up. I have 1 student that I'm already struggling with. When his history teacher from last year found out I had him, she burst into hysterical laughter. When she calmed, she told me that he had "made" her cry 5 times the previous school and she'd had nightmares all summer of getting him back. So, yay. :p But we'll see. So far, he's had one slightly destructive episode and been 45-60 min late for an 85 min class all other days.

    But overall, it's good! First test is coming up, so we'll see if they're absorbing as much as they seem to be.
     
  15. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Sep 14, 2013

    We are on week 7.

    I have "that class". The aren't nearly where I want them to be behavior wise or academically. Progress is slow. Several are regressing. Many are resistant to learning. I thought I'd lost my touch, but they are that way for everyone, so that makes me feel better.
     
  16. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 14, 2013

    I am so glad to hear that!
     
  17. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 14, 2013

    We've had 24 days so far. I can't complain, I'm having a great time. Out of 6 classes, I have only 1 class that is challenging. Out of those, it's been the majority of the class that has been challenging. They're young and very immature, right before lunch, so they're tired and hungry and they're lower level, so I have to scaffold more. They feed off of each other.
    However this past week everyone seemed to turn around (1 got a phone call home, and that seemed to do the magic trick, another must finally given in to our 6-7 one on one conversations, etc)

    I am left with 1 girl that is a huge trouble in this same class, and she seems to be the problem. When she's sent out of the class, the rest of the students know how to behave, or at least are much better. I'm in in daily email contact with mom, she's supportive but this girl needs major counseling. She has a lot of problems, and we, the school have been working together, I have involved the parent, I've tried everything, but she is still resisting. There is a plan in place for her, and she might end up getting suspended from school if she keeps up.
    I try to be patient, but I also have to think about the other students in my classroom, so my patience is now gone. Having realized that, I am not even stressed out, because I am handling everything the way I should, so overall it's great.
    Having only 1 student as a problem at our school is like being in Heaven.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sep 14, 2013

    Thank you! A couple years ago I was ready to leave education. I am so glad things have turnd around for me. :)
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 14, 2013

    Nine days in!

    It's been a crazy start to the year. We didn't have access to our new building until the Friday before Labour Day (school started Sept 3rd), but we all pulled together. Someone compared it to a barn-raising--not too far off the truth. Construction and landscaping are still going on, but we are settling in well. I love my class and I need to enjoy them while I have them; we are reorganizing classes at the end of next week and I'll be losing 6 of my students and gaining a couple from another class. My admin team is wonderful--supportive, involved and interested in staff and students. It's going to be a busy year, but a great one!
     
  20. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Sep 14, 2013

    I only have one class now, but they are great. I have 25 seniors and 2 juniors in it. I had many of them when they are freshmen, so I know all of their names.

    In terms of my other responsibilities, I have been pretty overwhelmed with new district initiatives and state mandates. Everyone is in the same boat, though, and I know we'll get through it!
     
  21. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Sep 14, 2013

    We have completed 5 weeks and although my students are weak, I have great Chemistry classes. We have spent the time so far on the remediation of basic science skills. They will start taking the ACT this year so these skills needed to come first. My environmental science class is a total different story. When they signed up to take the class, the quarterback coach on the football team was teaching the class but he ended up quitting and so they got me. They are very upset that I expect them to work to get a good grade. They expected to play around and get a C for the class. They are seniors and think it is hilarious to fart in the classroom so since I have window units in my classroom, I simply turn off the AC and open the windows to air out the room. Since the class is after lunch the outside temp is usually around 90 or so and it gets hot quickly. The heat does not bother me but they are beginning to police themselves. When they walked into class on Friday, one of the football players told the class clowns that they had better not do anything to get the windows open. We actually had a pleasant class and the AC stayed on so hopefully I am winning the battle.
     
  22. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Sep 14, 2013

    14 days down, 166 (student days) to go.

    My first class is Juniors and Seniors who are repeating the course. Small class, only one girl, chatty but not too bad yet. Next two class are nightmares; mostly 10th-12th graders, chatty, argumentative, whiny, lazy as heck. A few repeaters. My last class of the day is mostly Juniors and Seniors who are pretty decent.

    All teachers are being forced to be a club leader/sponsor this year, which I'm not looking forward to. Admin told us to choose a club/sport/group we wanted to be involved in so it would be fun for us and wouldn't seem like an extra chore. They don't want to assign people clubs because that will lead to resentment. We'll see if I get my first or second choice (jewelry making or game club).

    At this point, I'm indifferent to the year - it's not as bad as last year, but its not great (or even good).
     
  23. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Sep 14, 2013

    I've finished 6 weeks already. I'm pretty stressed out this year. I'm asked/forced to do too many things for no extra pay. I found out I'm pregnant a few weeks ago, but it's too early to tell my principal. I wish I could tell her so I could get out of some of my responsibilities.
     
  24. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Sep 14, 2013

    Congratulations! So happy for you.
     
  25. jw12

    jw12 Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2013

    I just got the notice that staff is supposed to have midterm grades submitted this coming week, so needless to say that this year is flying by! Its my second year teaching, and this year my high school went 1:1 with iPads. There's been a lot of adjusting, working around tech issues, and getting used to being paperless. But all in all, its gone better than expected.

    I do have "that one class" that is full of academic and behavior problems. Luckily, that period I co-teach with a special ed teacher, so there's 2 pairs of eyes watching them at all times!

    Other than having a student calling the principal by first name when he did a walk-through the other day :)eek:), I haven't had any major behavior issues. I was worried about how well this year would go, and while I'm still concerned, I'm beginning to have a better feeling about everything.

    Now, I better get those midterm grades calculated!
     
  26. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Sep 14, 2013

    Thank you!
     
  27. Nichole906

    Nichole906 Rookie

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    Sep 15, 2013

    2nd year going great!

    We're 9 days in, so far so good. Last year was my first year teaching and I had a horrible time, so I was incredibly nervous for the new year. However, it is going so well - I'm actually excited to go work. I, like Alice, want my focus this year to be on finding engaging and creative ways to supplement my textbook.
     
  28. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Sep 15, 2013

    We are 8 days into the new year, and it has been quite an adventure so far! We've moved into a brand new (only K-2) building, and construction is still going on. It's been an adventure setting up rooms that aren't completely finished (still waiting on cabinet doors and counters so we can have student computers!) and developing procedures for lining up, drop off, pick up, etc. One great thing is that I've come to realize how FANTASTIC the staff - teachers, support staff, and admin - are. Everyone helps each other, supports one another, and works extremely hard. I've been really blessed to be a part of such a fabulous staff!

    We also have lots of new tech at this new school - nice document cameras, microphones, and interactive whiteboards. It's so exciting to integrate these into daily lessons.

    My class seems pretty good so far, but they are VERY little compared to my end of the year first graders from a couple months ago. I'm still adjusting to that. We are still getting our procedures and routines established within the classroom and within the new campus.
     

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