Tuesday, September 24, 2013


This is my main goal as a teacher. Wake kids up from boredom, bring back their curiosity!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I love teaching!

I finally got THE job! It took two years after my credential to finally land the job I really wanted. The school is friendly and extremely supportive, and I think they genuinely are glad to have me as a colleague!
I am teaching 4 sections of conceptual physics, which I love - planning learning experiences through activities and very little reading or math is lots of fun (and costs me in buying materials - like, most recently golf balls and golf whiffle balls plus plastic rules to use as a source of force, to discover the relationship of mass, force and acceleration. These are kids who've had many setback because they got left behind in math somewhere along the line, as well as more language learners (not just Spanish speakers) than I've experienced before.
My fifth class, General Chemistry, has to be more structured, because there are three of us teaching it, and the district has a (generously general) pacing guide and benchmarks. We have been doing the same labs, so we all get together to set up the first lab, and the rest of us use the same set-up. Two of us use the chem labs of the others while they are away, so it works. In fact we're all quite new - one has been teaching biology for a couple of years at this school, one's first year was last year, and two of us are brand-new chemistry teachers (except for what I taught at the charter school as part of Integrated Science.) The school gave us a whole day with subs yesterday so we could plan a common lesson and common unit test - which will be observed, of course. They are very concerned that we find this a good experience!
My 6th period class has been getting more and more out-of-hand. It has more than usual kids who can't stay in their seat, or who are bored or otherwise not participating the way I would like. So I asked our new Assistant Principal of students what to do. He came and observed a relatively well-functioning 3rd period, and then came in half-way through 6th to see the difference - 2 groups had been playing with the Hotwheels Track and bouncing their golf balls, instead of investigating acceleration with them, so I had taken their toys away and made them sit still. Two other groups were waiting for the materials to suddenly appear at their tables... but the others were happily investigating - and playing, which is fine with me, if it's playing to learn! (First period connected many sections of track and tried to do a loop, which didn't work, but they tried it in a variety of ways. I love that kind of initiative - when they had gotten through what I was looking for.) The AP lectured the poor 6th period kids, who sat there looking rather sheepish.  I'm curious to see how they are tomorrow. Some of them just cannot sit still!
The only drawback is that it's 35 mile away in sometimes heavy traffic, so I have to leave by 6:30 for my 8 o'clock class. (The school even starts later than many others!) But that gives me a lot of time to do last minute preparations, etc. If I leave 10 minutes later, I arrive half an hour later!
When I get home at around 6 pm (after correcting papers, etc. and stopping by Starbucks for sustenance on the way home) John is preparing dinner, and I can go for a 15 minute swim in our new pool! We're talking of getting it heated for the winter, because we both love that daily dip!

So the impossible is possible! I did get a job!