#DITLife: January 3, 2017 – Back from Break

This post is part of the “Day in the Life” project by Tina Cardone.

10:39am – I remembered last night I was supposed to write this but then forgot until just now. The first day back has been ok so far. I didn’t get in quite as early as I wanted, but I didn’t have a lot to do. I printed a midterm reflection document for my seniors to complete, and then took care of some emails before school started. In Algebra 2 we did a Participation Quiz, so I had to tweak some of the slides to be more specific about what we’re doing. I also wanted to include a slide that reviews basic expectations for class. Not that I have a ton, but the reminder to be decent people I think is always valuable. We’re also changing our office hours to give more support to students in subjects (so instead of “Mr. B has office hours this day” it will be “Algebra 2 office hours are always in this room”).

I made a special effort to do as little work as possible over the break by leaving the Algebra 2 midterms at school. And it was good that I got to relax a little bit. But now this stack is staring me in the face and I’m not sure when it’s going to get done. Also I’m trying to balance a ton of other Grade Level Leader responsibilities.

Speaking of the midterm, I just had to have a conversation with a student that I think cheated on the exam. Those conversations are awful because you want to believe the student when they say it’s their own work, but also you know that it’s not. And I haven’t found a good way to say “I still like you as a person, even though I think you made a bad choice” and “I understand making this bad choice, but there are still consequences” and “I will respect you more if you admit that you screwed up”. And unless you actually witness the kid looking at another paper there’s always a chance you’re wrong. I don’t think I am, but I acknowledge a level of fallibility to the whole process. I’ve gotten better at it as I’ve taught longer, but I still don’t enjoy it.

I have two planning periods in a row off, so I think I’m going to spend the next one grading some exams. Good times.

1:28pm – Definitely didn’t do grading, instead visited a Latin class and talked with some other teachers I ran into about Senior stuff. I think inter-visitations are so, so important and I just don’t do them enough. And almost no one comes into my classroom anymore. The staff is stretched really thin this year and that’s one of the places it manifests. I just like seeing how other teachers have set things up and stealing ideas from them. It’s also rewarding to find things to shout out at meetings and to the staff.  Now that we’re back from break I’m going to post an #ObserveMe sign this week and try to get more staff to visit.

In my IB Studies classes, the rough draft of their internal is due this Friday (which I’ll probably extend to Monday). I’ve tried to give them PLENTY of time to work on it but I just found a student that didn’t even have data yet. If they don’t submit the internal they can’t get the IB certificate for math, plus I’ve set it up so I don’t think they can pass the semester, so I have to figure out how much effort I should put in. On one hand I really want to make sure they get the certificate, but on the other there has to be some degree of personal responsibility. I have to decide what I’m going to do before tomorrow.

Today’s Algebra 2 lesson is going well, at least. They’re not getting as far as we’d like, but it’s always good to over-plan rather than under-plan. And I think we’re set for the rest of the week as far as practice goes.

7:00pm – I’ve been terrible about keeping this up today, partly because I’m so scatterbrained on the first day back. After my Algebra 2 class we had Advisory, where we tried (in fits and starts) to plan a service project. Then I was going around the school checking little things off the to-do list, looking for seniors and other teachers. After sending some emails, I started grading around 5 and did that until now. I have a few more emails to send and then I’m out. The next two days I can’t stay so late so I wanted to get as much accomplished as possible. Which only sort of happened, but that’s ok. Late night, so signing off.

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