Saturday, October 19, 2013

A month goes by & A new term begins

The last month has absolutely flown past. We went from temperate end-of-summer to true fall temperatures where breath can be seen as I walk the dog in the dark each morning.

Along with that month came the end to the first 10 weeks of the school year. In Mundelein reckoning, that means the end to the 1st term and two days of finals.

Monday was a day off for Columbus Day (brief thought: We get a day off for Columbus but not for Veterans Day?) and Tuesday and Wednesday were finals. My coworkers in the Biz Ed department had warned me that October and March finals are the hardest. I couldn't understand why. And then I realized once Thursday came....

On Tuesday and Wednesday students took two 2-hour finals. They had an hour break in between the finals and then were out at 12:45. Teachers had the afternoon to grade. It was like a snapshot. Add an hour for lunch and that leaves about 1 1/2 hours to grade each day. Not much! I had 1st hour off 1st Term and so I spent those two hours during finals trying to prep for Term 2 (which began on Thursday). I knew I'd be focused on grading and not prepping. I wrote my syllabus for my new course (Government) and consulted with another Gov teacher to make sure I had the right things prepared for the first few days. Then I got to work Tuesday afternoon grading the 30 5-10 page papers that my Econ kids did for their final exam. Technically, I only had about 25 of them. The other 5 were tied up in the Google Drive system app we were using which the Tech folks had sadly decided to start archiving. It took until this weekend for me to figure out how to access those few remaining final papers.

On Wednesday I gave my final two exams for my Intro to Business classes. This included a 60+ MC exam and a 5 question short answer section to complete in partners on their Virtual Businesses. There was a snafu for my 3rd hour final. Turns out the wrong final was saved in the drive and so I technically gave an older version of the final. That explained why the bubble sheets the kids used didn't match the test. It was a frantic hour between finals on Wednesday trying to determine the problem. It got resolved with a few minutes to spare and then 4th hour things went smoothly. So much for getting grading done while my 3rd hour kids took their exam. I spent the whole 2 hours answering questions about why the answer sheet didn't match the questions (sometimes even when on the board and spoken to the whole group once discovered, students don't listen - some too focused on trying to complete the test).

Thursday was a half day and the 1st day of Term 2. Students had 45 minute class periods in their Term 2 schedule. I had to remember that I did NOT have 1st period off anymore and that my new Gov't class was 1st hour. My prep hour is now 2nd hour. I think I like it better so far. At any rate, my Gov't students seem extremely enthusiastic and I tried to hook them in by showing them a document from 1832 (created after the 12th amendment was passed and before the Civil War era) that my immigrant/revolutionary ancestor was granted. I told them they all had people come to America for one purpose or another and at some time recent or long ago. Many of them came because of the political freedoms we have and the type of government that was created in America. This class would give them more details on why it is so important to know and why their ancestors also may have been drawn to this country. They were pretty curious. My Intro to Biz kids were given a brief intro to the new term. They are the same kids as last Term so an easy transition. They then had about 30 minutes to set up their Stock Market Portfolio as part of the Stock Market Game on Pretty cool.

That afternoon most teachers were listening to a speaker for staff meeting but the Biz Ed teachers, dept chair and tech specialists & tech directors headed to East Leyden High School to investigate their 1-1 program and student-led help desk course which we are implementing at MHS next year. I am extremely impressed at this program and excited to see it off the ground in Mundelein. However, I am trying to not get too excited. While it could mean job security for me, it also has a chance of not being so. I haven't even had a formal evaluation here yet! I love it at MHS so I am hopeful. I can only continue to do my very best. There will be trials. There will be triumphs. All of them will be important to my growth as a teacher.

So that's a wrap on what you've missed while I was gone. I'll try again to be consistent. Til then, drop me a line and let me know your thoughts. And if you are at a school with a 1-1 initiative, let me know!


No comments:

Post a Comment