Friday, August 24, 2007

The First Week

It's only been five days and my room smells like stale coffee again. I'm not certain I can't say the same for the inside of my body as well.

I'm finally keeping up with my feeds again, and reading some great stuff. For whatever reason, I can't access twitter via G-chat. Luckily, I've got twitbin to keep me connected.

My kids this year are tremendous. I've almost 120 students and they have each impressed me in some way already. I'm trying to make at least two calls home each night - positive calls.

Two nights ago, I called and spoke to a mother to tell her how impressed I was that her son didn't miss a beat after being out sick for a day on the first week. She told me she had already seen an improvement in self-confidence after three days and that her son had begged to go to school with a fever the day he was out. I thanked her for saving us from and endemic before I hung up the phone.

I feel like we're all on our game even more than last year. We started with a non-traditional open house. I'm teaching Grades 8 and 10 this year. Rather than rotating parents and students through each classroom and having them listen to teacher presentations that were remarkably similar, we set up paperwork in the literacy center and all of the teachers were available to talk in the common area. Here's the key, we made it a potluck dinner.

Some people on campus felt slight trepidation over whether or not our parents would show, let alone bring a dish to share. Their concerns were not without reason; our first year, about 7 familes showed up for our Open House. This year, we were only missing 7 families out of the 8th grade! It was tremendous. I got to shake each student's hand, find out a little about them and eat brownies. It's not a perfect world, but it's close to it.

This first week has been dedicated to class/family building and policies and procedures. Today, we wrap up the Coat of Arms project procured from Erin Gruwell. The first day, they were quiet and not too engaged. It was a slow start. Today, as the deadline hung in front of them, students who were already finished sat next to students who were a little behind and helped search for and cut out images that symbolized their goals, achievements and things/people of value.

I have been operating at 11 for the entire week. I had also forgotten how exhausting teaching is when you do it right. I haven't had the energy to go for a run after the marathon that is the school day. But, I wouldn't have it any other way. This weekend's agenda? Sleep. Maybe a little response to some entry and exit tickets.

Lesson plans? I've got the next two weeks planned out. It's a weird feeling.

More later.


Maura said...

Sounds like things are going very well. Congratualtions and best of luck for the rest of the school year!

Anonymous said...

You are right, the kids are tremendous! I like when you said you forget how exhausting teaching is WHEN YOU DO IT RIGHT! That is so true.

Anonymous said...

hey this is jeremy obajtek just seeing how your doing and wanting to wish you a good time in philly even though i wish you were here. we all really miss you and its only the first day you have been gone every day i wait to go to your class but now i dont feel like going to school...
by the way mr. francis say's

Maria Araceli Bernal said...

hey how are you doing i am good right now i am in mr. francis class and i am bummed that you left us here in phoneix but i am happy that you decided to live in philly wiht your family but i am done with your poem and it will be sent to you by tomarrow or today on your myspace ok i love you you are the best teacher ever and it will be good to have you visit when you can. well i have to get back to school have a good day and a nice and safe trip oh and my mo said hi and she is also bummed about you leaving phoenix academy.

maria araceli bernal