Thursday, February 10, 2011

Two weeks down and running strong (and tired!)

I feel very comfortable about my new job. My colleagues are very supportive, and happy to have a teacher who can teach biology, chemistry and math. (The French didn't really materialize, thank goodness!)

I love having very small classes so I can work with each student individually when they need it. The 2 remedial math classes have about 6 students each, which is what the students need to be succesful. I am letting 3 students work ahead on their own in Algebra I, so they may be able to catch up with the rest of the class. Others are just filling in the holes in their math knowledge from too many years thinking they couldn't do math. I love the challenge of helping them understand what math is all about. We've been working on the substitution method for solving 2 equations. Today the light went on for one of the students and his face just shone! It has been a very difficult concept for them!

I'm constantly amazed at how much I know about the science subjects. I've not only studied for tests, but lived a whole long life being interested in science and soaking up so much about it that I can use to entice and motivate the students. But they are still new subjects for me, so I have to study the topics thoroughly to present them well. I finally got the electronic gradebook up-to-date with both attendance and quizzes. There's so much to do in the beginning! And I know the names of more than half my students (since there aren't that many) but that is a bit problem for me. Some of the students need so much help and attention, others act bored. Others escape from a difficult home-life. And still others just couldn't make it in big high school classrooms.

All that takes time, of course, on top of nearly 2 hours daily travel time partly through the lovely Cajon Pass. (The time and direction I drive is with very acceptable traffic. I had a couple of foggy days in December, and gusty winds that blew over some tall, lightly loaded trucks. But the wind doesn't bother my little Insight and I keep as far from the trucks as possible.)
This shows the southern end of the Cajon Pass.
and no, I did not take the picture! I'm down on the ground!