Trying to do this more often.

My goal as of now is twice a week.  Really it’s just as often as I can get myself to sit and type.  Right now… I just stopped writing for 15 minutes while I went and did two more things I really had to do.  I actually just took 4 days since I started this post.

I just had the “who do you blog for” conversation with a friend.  I blog for me.  I always think of the analogy with people protesting because of something someone said on the radio.  For gosh sakes change the station!  If you don’t like what you are reading.  For gosh sakes, stop. now. i mean it. just stop.

Fall TV starts this week.  I have this vice. It is TV.  TV is my favorite thing.  I love it the way some of you love music or sports or knitting afghans.  I am an escapist.  I am not daring or brave nor do I do super interesting things.  So I watch TV and smile because it’s just another story I can get involved in.  There are two tie ins to teaching (and one not) coming right now:

1) How is your time spent? Do you work 6-6 and then come home and grade?  Do you cram at school and not bring stuff home?  Do have babies that require attention as soon as you get home? Can you get your life together enough that you feel caught up?  Do you have a really fabulous system you want to share? Lastly, what do you do when you CAN’T just can’t think about school anymore?

2) I was thinking about why I like TV so much.  I like it more than movies and I think for me it is that I am invested in the story.  There is a long running story.  I think that is the draw.  How can I make math more connected?  I know the ways that I should I just am not sure I am ready/ capable of doing it.  Does it make me bad that I just can’t get there yet? there are just too many other things.

3) What is your vice? What do you spend more time on then really you should? We all know Jason‘s is blogs but what’s yours?

Check in:
Classroom management in 8th grade 1rst period has gotten bad.  They have lost respect for me.  So while they are still my favorite they have gotten a little out of control.  I’m going to mean business tomorrow and part of that is how over prepared I intend to be. Good Luck being bad tomorrow kids, there is just too much to do!

Everything else is running smoothly without being stellar.  I know first year is not supposed to be stellar but what if I want it to be?


4 thoughts on “Trying to do this more often.

  1. 1) I get to school about 7:15 so I can make copies, get my computer and SmartBoard running, set up my lessons, check e-mail and just get organized before the day starts. This year I usually leave by 3:30 but last year I stayed until 5 almost every day. As far as grading, I only grade vocab and sbg quizzes so I only grade on Fridays. My plan period is 6th hour so I grade all the vocab quizzes then (they are 10 problems or less, short and sweet) and then I take the sbg quizzes home over the weekend. I don’t assign a lot of homework but I just go over it in class. I come home from school and play on the Internet or take a nap until about 6:00. Then I eat dinner and pack lunch for the next day and iron my clothes, shower, etc. I don’t usually start actually lesson planning or doing work until 8 and I usually stay up til 12 getting things done. Hence, the napping. I am a night person so this schedule works best for me. And I love naps. My fabulous system to share is that I do all paperwork and bookkeeping at school and save lesson planning for at home where I can devote the most time. I spent one entire Saturday making lesson plans for the whole week and that has helped me stay ahead of the game a bit. Last year, I planned one day at a time. When I can’t think about school anymore, I watch episodes of Lost, play Family Feud on facebook, talk to my mom, or just give up and go to bed.

    2) I agree about trying to make math more connected. I don’t know if I’m smart enough to do it. I am really, really good at breaking things down into easy-to-digest pieces. Unfortunately, I’m not good at portraying all the pieces as a whole. How could we set up our class to be like a tv show? Each day is a new episode that ties into the overall theme. I really like the idea. I wonder how we could make it work? Let’s ponder that. It doesn’t make you bad at all. It makes you awesome for realizing something you want to do!

    3) I just spend too much time getting easily distracted whether it’s online shopping, facebook, twitter, blogs, email, tv, reading, talking, texting, eating, sleeping…okay, a lot of things. What I need to work on is alotting a specific time for each thing instead of trying to do all of them at once. I need to schedule my home time the same way I do my work time. While that may sound sad, it also creates the freedom to be spontaneous because I have a plan to get things done. Prioritize!

    If you want it to be stellar, then work little pieces of stellar into your ordinary every day routine. Things don’t become stellar overnight. Let your stellar grow!

    P.S. I’ve been waiting a year to be able to give first-year teacher advice! =)


  2. 1. I’m out of my house about 7-5, but that includes time picking up and dropping off the kids. Weekends are usually a mad errand rush of groceries and oil changes and such. I do dinner and put the kids down so I start up again about 9. Then go until midnight or so but usually half working half twitter/blog/hulu. Usually I’m just putting together stuff that I’ve already worked out so it’s pretty autopilot. If I really need to figure something out I shut everything else down.

    2. You’re fighting a lot. I had a convo with a math teacher last year about this. Math is much more vertically aligned, so it makes sense when you look at how the standards build from year to year. On the other hand, science is usually horizontal. So I can develop a story during the year. It makes my actual teaching easier, but from a student perspective I don’t know what’s better. It’s kind of a random mishmash where one year doesn’t relate to the next in science. Oh, and just try to put together little mini-series. The whole year is rough.

    3..umm..blogs. Although I read (paper, offline) a crap load too. So I guess I read a lot.


  3. 1. No fabulous system… I try to avoid bringing work home, because it never gets done. So I usually stay at school later than most teachers – like 5-ish most days. But I don’t have kids or many responsibilities besides work so it works out fine. My desk organization revelation this year is a bin just for scrap paper. Instead of sticking one-sided things I don’t need anymore in like a pile in the corner. It’s AMAZING.

    2. I think I’ve gotten better at revisiting important common threads over and over, but I don’t think I could tell someone else how to do it. Like for example in Algebra 2 these days, they get hit over and over with f(x-h) is a left/right shift and f(x)+k is an up/down shift for every freaking kind of function. And also I have all my new function intros set up like inspect physical pattern -> make a table -> figure out the rule -> features of the graph but it took a few years to get there. And it wasn’t really conscious, it just kind of got built into my lessons and assignments by magic, until now I’m like, hunh, would you look at that.

    3. I read a lot. And shop for clothes too much. And make excellent meals even though I’m the only one eating them, I don’t care. And go to yoga 3-4 times a week, which takes ~4 hours because the place I go is an hour away. And sometimes I just spend a few hours like staring at a wall. But it’s necessary. I need my wall time.

    I think in your first year if you manage to be not awful most days, that’s pretty stellar. Way better than my first year, anyway. HOT DAMN I was awful.


  4. Sometimes I look back on my first year and wondered how I survived it all– I certainly wasn’t being as reflective about the meta things as you are, like still having a normal human life, and suffered from it 😛

    1) I was at school by 7:15 every morning, taught from 8-5 with a lunch break and one free hour, and had kids after school 2-3 times a week until 6:30-7. That was something I learned quickly: they wanted to stay every day, but I had to establish limits. I used my morning time to do brainless things like writing notes and entering stuff into the online gradebook, my lunch and free hour to grade like crazy, and tutoring time to clean/organize my classroom while kids were working (kids who wanted to stick around but didn’t really need math help got to file stuff and make my copies). I never took grading home, even if it meant I had to stay later, and did most of my week’s planning on Saturdays (I took Sundays off) so that on weeknights when I got home, I would cook, relax, and just do brainless last-minute things for the next day (like cutting out manipulatives or doing an answer key or formatting). The cooking kept me sane.

    2) I really struggled with this too and don’t think I ever hit on anything fantastic– one thing that helped a little bit was to always use the warm-up at the beginning of class to review yesterday + preview today; helped students see the connection between each day’s objective and get them primed for the day’s lesson.

    3) I stay up way past my bedtime reading novels. And bake things that I shouldn’t eat. And watch House Hunters.

    I’m pretty sure the only reason I survived my first year was because I had the routine of a robot. Good luck finding something that works and still lets you be human 🙂


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