Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday....Several ideas

Last night was a very good sleep but  my brain kept on working - all night. It was thinking of things I need to blog about so what I did this morning was "start" several blogs with just the title and an idea line and saved them as drafts. That way I have them when there is a loss of ideas.

First up, I want to talk about teaching. Real teaching. Something you have a passion for. Something you really have a need to do. Something that makes you an award winning, highly effective teacher.

One, I really don't think you can be THAT person in your first year. In my case, you can't even be that person your first class of the day. Mentally you have to work class out, test things out, sound it out. I have even "taught" my lesson verbally in the car on the way to school and first hour still did not have the same level of intensity as second hour.

First hour was always good in my book, but second was better. Third was better but just a bit off, fourth, good but a bit off-er. Fifth and sixth hour was always good but by then the kids were ready for lunch or just came from lunch or were going to PE or just came from PE. Seventh and eighth were just another hour till things are over. So lets look at each hour.

First hour, always for some reason, my best or second best class of the day. I loved seeing them walk in. They always had smiles on their faces, never seemed to be in a bad mood. Maybe it was that they were just waking up or something but I always loved my first two classes of the day. Maybe in was really me. I was chipper, more energetic at that time of the morning. I have always been a morning person.

First hour's class always went really well. I always knew what I wanted to do, what I wanted to teach, the material, but that was always just ME. I liked my subject, my material. This was always good to teach but the material always came out a bit to much or not enough, took too long or came up too short. It was always a 'timing' issue. Never bad but I remember always getting to the end of the lesson with too much time on my hands or rush leaving out material just to get to the closing.

Second hour, was again always one of my best classes. I know why first and second were so good. More about that later. By this time I had worked out the kinks in my lesson, smoothed out the wrinkles and timed things out better. I knew just what to say, the stories I needed to tell, fillers I could tell or not tell. It just felt better this hour. I generally hit every mark, hit every item on the 'highly qualified' administrator's check list. This was 'rocking and rolling' at it's best. Hated to see this hour come to an end.

Third hour was generally the same thing. Most days we always hit the mark with them. Generally, ended right on time, covered the lesson near perfect. These students were always my third best class of the day. It went down hill from here.

The story of why these classes were better was what I taught. See, I'm not the BIG two - ELA and MATH. Oh, our scores count but not like ELA and MATH. My subject was always day four or five of the end-of-year tests. We were always that hour long little class stuck in there with the 'extended' classes of ELA and MATH. They got an hour and a half, I got HALF of what they got. I did it but always felt like a second-class subject. We were the 'Anti-Block' class

My 'planning' time always fell at third or fourth hour. So you see how 'important' I was.

By the next hour the kids were tired of a block and a half of either ELA or MATH. They were DONE with school so they felt. Bored out of their skulls. And they were super hard to teach by now. ELA and MATH should have never been that long. research says a middle school kids brain shuts down after 42 minutes. Other studies say students should change types of teaching styles and what they are and how they are learning every 15 minutes. I believe it. And a block is 90 minutes. No wonder they are restless after one block class.

If my next class was fourth, I just needed to give up so-to-speak. They were restless, bored, ready for lunch, ready to take a nap since they didn't go to bed till general 2-o-clock. It was a hard, hard, HARD, hour to teach. But the worst was yet to come.

Fifth and sixth hours. Generally these were held during 'lunchtime for somebody' - eighth graders, seventh graders, or the super noisy sixth graders. No matter who, these students were a tuff act to teach. They were now super antsy because they either did eat, skipped lunch, just came from lunch recess, came from PE, ready to go to PE, all the short classes like mine. But there was never any trying to teach them.

This is where I always had those BD, SpEd kids which I never minded, but they were tired too. And I had to teach them different than the other classes most days. I started in SpEd my first year but that's a different story for another blog.

Seventh and eighth hour were like two-peas-in-a-pod. They were hard to teach but eighth was even harder, Seventh was bad but generally I cold get through to them We  had some really good times together and I did manage to teach them some things. They were good students but I would have hated last hour with them. But I know science was thinking the same thing because she was going to send hers to me.

Eighth hour was just cruel no matter who got them last hour. The class was always cut shorter than the others due to end of the day announcements - some days longer than others. I would never get thru my lessons. This hour was the one I dreaded all day.

Lets just start over tomorrow and see how things go. Maybe it will go better. It NEVER did.

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