Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday

The kids forgot how to be students during the past two weeks when they never had more than 2 consecutive school days. Looking at their "paychecks" from this week, I saw that most kids slipped in their behavior - some just a little, many quite a bit. I have ten kids' contact info in my bag to call some parents - both to praise those who kept up their good behavior and to discuss problems with those on a downhill slide.

But the teachers also forgot how to be teachers. The week felt so long, and the kids kept asking stuff that I had just said... yesterday I had to check in with myself: they are just kids, so what if they ask the same things over and over again and can't measure in inches? Be More Patient. Today was better until sixth period. I was fairly patient, but I felt like I was running all over the room putting out little fires. At least the whole classroom didn't burst into flame, right?

I am remembering what it is like to have Way Too Much To Grade. Somehow I ended up giving quizzes AND major projects to BOTH grades during a two-week period; all the quizzes (75 from 6th + 55 from 7th) have to get marked and all the first drafts commented upon and all the final drafts graded using a rubric. If I don't write anything here, I'm probably busy marking papers. Yes, yes, I should have staggered the assignments, but I will confess to doing my planning based on what is appropriate for the kids to learn particular material, not on how I can arrange major assignments to fall in a certain schedule. No matter when I collect it, it all has to get checked and edited and commented upon.

The sixth graders had a quiz on measurement. They didn't do as well as I'd hoped but not terribly, either. We will revisit measurement so many times over the next two years that I am not going to obsess any more about it now. Still, a few kids are getting their first low grades in Science since the year began, and although I hope they understand that I am still "on their side," it can definitely begin to change their relationship to school if they start to feel less successful.

The seventh graders - well, I'm worried they're really going to bomb. But I think they might need a boot in the seat of their pants, because I didn't get the impression that they studied all that hard for their quiz. During the second day of review, I got blank stares from all but 3 or 4 kids as we went over the topics on the study sheet. I kind of lit into them because I had already pushed back the quiz date once - in theory they were supposed to have taken it yesterday - and they clearly would not have been prepared, and yet didn't seem motivated to use the extra time to get ready. *sigh* The sixth graders want so badly to succeed; the seventh graders would be very happy if allowed to just listen to music and chat on their cell phones. (That's a little unfair, but sometimes it feels that way).

And now I am going to do what I have been looking forward to doing all week: just chill at home. Maybe I will finally put away my summer clothes and take my winter clothes out of their storage bins in my closet. Maybe I will make mix CDs for people. Maybe I will just go to bed early. Maybe I'll even start some work. But here I am. I'm not going to rent a movie, whatever I do is going to be non-mediated (except the music part, that is Absolutely Necessary for chilling out). I'm going to turn off my computer now. More blogging later this weekend, unless I get really bogged down in papers.

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