Thursday, August 25, 2005
first times at newschool high
well that was interesting.
homeroom went decently well. i have freshmen so they don't really know if i screwed up anyway. i have never dealt with the scheduling nightmare of a large high school. (i really didn't know how seemingly capricious class schedules can be.) they are told that they can't change their schedule unless they are a senior and need a class to graduate, passed a class they thought would fail, and something similarly restrictive. despite these limitations, the incredible line i saw when i went to the counseling area makes me think changes are made anyway. announcements over the intercom were so constant during homeroom it almost seemed stream of consciousnes.
with about 30 minutes left, homeroom ended and first period began. (this means i need to run out of that class and try to beat my first period students to the classroom; homeroom is not in the room where i have first period.)
the other math teachers were talking about how the first day is just taken up by going over procedures and the syllabus. they must be more loquacious than i am for i was taking my time and finished right at the end of the period - or when it was supposed to end. yet another intercom announcement then told us we had 10 more minutes. since i was given the curriculum 10 minutes before the start of homeroom, i did not have much to fall back on. (i started in on terminating/nonterminating decimals just to fill some time - really. shockingly only half the class seemed bored.)
that reminds me - there seems to be something about my teaching style that is very effective for about a third of the students. i'm not talking about like those who normally do well. about half of that third is usually students who are usually rather poor students and unengaged. the other half is the standard "excellers." i need to figure out how to better reach the middle half.
i was not as prepared as i intended for third/fourth blocks since a fellow teacher never gave me his outline as he said. we are teaching the same class - and since we've been told to teach it other than how the state says - i've been trying to coordinate to teach the same topics at a similar pace. despite this, we still covered the basics of points, lines, planes, rays, angles, and naming them after the syllabus was reviewed. one student (who obviously was no nerd as was suggested by buddy tim) came up to me on his way home after fourth block. he told me he was not going to be in the class much longer since he'd already passed it, but that i shouldn't be so nervous. he then gave me some tips on cleaning the overhead. i didn't feel nervous (though the lack of thorough preparedness did concern me). i did like that he felt comfortable talking to me. (since no one else was around, it was clear he wasn't trying to get attention or goof off.)
the copiers are new...but suck. they haven't put any staples into them (ever), and they don't do 2 single sides -> 1 double side. i still don't have keys. this is a pain since i have to find the third period teacher so he can lock the door during lunch and unlock it afterwards. after a week of requests/pleas, i was finally able to login to the computers during second block. i ate lunch in the math office. that's kinda cool. it's much different than being THE math teacher.
during my planning period (as i was trying to get help to unjam the copier), i saw one of my geometry students from last year. i'd repeatedly told them to go back to their base school and take care of what they needed to get done to graduate. he was quite pleased to see me and greetedly me warmly. i looked at his schedule and after a brief conversation told him to get to class. i mentioned to another teacher in the math office that i'd seen yet another former student in the hall. she said "oh? student's name?" i said yes. she said that his teacher was looking for him as he was already skipping class. i guess he only decided to follow half of my admonition.
attendance is a pain, and the tardy policy is draconian and tedious. more about that later. overall a decent start.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
a real live teacher
it seems i'll be awakening quite early for the next year - leaving about a half hour earlier than i did at the previous school. there has been plenty of confusion/changes concerning the content/structure for the classes i'm teaching so preparations aren't as i'd like.
i'm also not sure how this whole "teacher without a room" thing is going to work. just things like the lack of a bookshelf keep popping up and being annoyances.
i will have a class first period for the first time ever. i've been told that teaching math in the morning is best, so this could be good. i also have a homeroom (ironic since i don't have a room 'tall). i'll actually be going to a classroom of a teacher who doesn't have a homeroom (for like the first time in 27 years).
Friday, August 19, 2005
ring, ring, ring...
that phone is bananas!
anyway, i called 4 times over a 2 hour period today and asst. superintendent guy wasn't in. they kept "expecting him any minute." today was the last day to register for classes at regional colleges at a reduced rate through a program. i figured there's no reason to go back to teaching if i wasn't going to be registered for the classes i need to continue teaching. i was quite adamant that i needed someone to tell me today what was going on. the secretary started saying she needed to schedule a meeting for tomorrow morning with another guy. i finally got him on the phone. he said he had the recommendation in his hand. (i wonder how long.) he said to go ahead and register for classes. to do so, i'm to show proof that i am working for a school system. he gives me his work number and said for that number to be called if there is a problem. i told him that i wouldn't even get to the registration site until after 5. he did not volunteer another number. (at 4:45 and 50 miles still to go, i called him and asked if there was a number where he could be reached if any issue arose. he said there was not.)
so after 200+ miles of driving, i'm scheduled for two classes, and i have a meeting downtown at 8:30 where i'm assuming i'll be official. (i also called my old buddy - the science teacher - on the way to see how things are going at the old school. that's another whole post.)
i may actually get "work" done tomorrow.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
monday i just showed up down at the assistant superintendent's office since he never returned any of my 5+ phone calls. he seemed to not have any clue what the messages said. i asked if the position was still available at a high school. (he'd previously told me that he didn't think they needed anyone.) he said it was. i asked what i needed to do. he asked if i had decided if i wanted to teach this year. (three of the messages were me asking if that job was available and that i was interested.) he then called the principal of the school and set up a meeting for me later that afternoon.
this school is out in the middle of nowhere. for some reason i went the way my housemate mentioned instead of the way i've gone the few times i'd made it out there. as i'm driving i'm on the edge of a very strong thunderstorm with torrential downpours. i realize i'm going to be late if i don't find it soon. i eventually stop and ask a newspaper deliverywoman. apparently i'd missed a turn. this means i head back into the storm.
i arrive 5 minutes early, but it's pouring. i park and hurry to the nearby door. it's locked. i then jog until i find another entrance. i'm quite wet. i enter and the secretary just laughs at me. she says that the principal is out in his truck because of the rain. she gives me a pile of paper towels and points me to a bathroom.
she eventually walks out to his truck with two umbrellas. i soon meet with him and an assistant principal. i don't feel like i wowed them - but i believe i came off as competent. she seemed much less interested. at the end, he said he'd call the assitant superintendent and tell him he'd recommend me.
this next morning, i keep calling downtown to find out if i'm to go to work. around 8 i get an answer, but the school hasn't called and the assistant superitendent isn't there and likely won't come into the office since it's the day of the big welcome address to all staff members. (schools come in shifts to the high school with the largest auditorium.) i later call back and leave a message for him to call me. i never made it to work.
today i just showed up at his office at 8:30. he wasn't there. his secretary said that the school hadn't called. she talked to someone and that person said that she'd left a message with the school to find out what their decision was. she told me not to go to work until things were settled. this is rather annoying. i didn't miss a day in two years, but now i'm missing two in a row.
Monday, August 15, 2005
after that rather blistering comment (now gone - blame haloscan), i lost what little energy i had for posting.
i did however have the energy to keep teaching. i finished the year. i think it was more stressful than the first year - which i didn't think was possible. i had quite a few ideas of what to do next - none of which i acted upon.
it seems that i will actually be teaching next year at a regular high school. i will know for sure in the morning. if it is true, i will be teaching algebra 1a and tech math 1 (two sections.) i also will need to sign up thursday for two college classes to meet required coursework. i will not have my own classroom. i will have a class first period for the first time. i was told i will have a duty-free lunch. change can be good.
more details as i know what i'm getting into - and i feel like typing.
edit: ugh. it seems whatever happened to prince roy's blog earlier, affected mine. (i just hadn't posted during that time.) i'll look into it later to see what needs to be fixed.