Wednesday, January 26, 2011

High School Science and Math Teacher

I seem to have a new title now. I am no longer "just" a math teacher. On Monday I will be teaching Biology, Integrated Math, with some few students trying to do Chemistry, Algebra I and CAHSEE prep for students who haven't passed the state graduation requirement in math.

My new school is a tiny charter school, so my classes have fewer than 20 kids per class, and some closer to 10. It is also in an unusual setting, the former kitchen of a defunct Italian restaurant up in the high desert in Hesperia (which people from Los Angeles got by on their way to Las Vegas.) The school has been around for more than 10 years, although the high school is relatively new.

That means that the room isn't really set up well for fancy chemical experiments, so we will be using things like lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda. I think most of the books are gifts from other schools who have gone on to a new textbook. I will have to pick and choose between lessons and materials.

We are also in a rush, because unfortunate circumstances mean that the time up to now has not been used as efficiently as I would have hoped. I will try to introduce the students to as much of the curriculum as possible, but I would rather go into depth than "cover" everything superficially. I hope they will learn those things well.

Many of our students have learning disabilities and have not done well in the large impersonal classes of public school. I know that many of them are actually quite smart, and maybe have been lazy because they have been bored. I just finished reading a book called "Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom," which has inspired me with some great strategies. I will be trying several, and report back here how they go.

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