Saturday, May 2, 2015

Self Inflicted Wounds and the Salve

A few years ago I made the decision to only teach Algebra 1.  My department chair is really cool about giving us the classes that we request, so if I were to say I wanted to teach Pre-Calculus, he would make a great effort to make sure I did.  When I declared that I wanted to only teach Algebra 1, the entire department (all 6 of them) looked at me as though I had two heads.  And I get it.  Those students are challenging.  So many of them are bright, but they come to school with a lot of baggage that they can't even.  I have entitled this post "Self Inflicted Wounds" because this was a choice that I made.  Here we go....

I have been feeling sorry for myself lately.  I've even been going as far as jokingly saying that I've been studying the classifieds.  Maybe half joking.  The students are starting to get restless now that the temperatures are warmer.  They are showing up to class late, they are talking back, they are blaming me for their failures, they are answering their phones during class, they are stealing from me, and it's just one disrespectful action after the other.  And I get no break.  It's every period.  Some days I just sit there during my prep period (last period of the day) and stare at the wall wondering what to do.  How has it gotten this bad?

Then I think it's me.  When an entire class fails a test, you know it's something the teacher did or didn't do.  This is the same thing.  If its every class that's off their rocker then perhaps I am somehow the trigger.  The problem with this is I don't know what it is that I'm doing.  I would stop immediately if I knew what it was.  Any ideas????

That has been the last three weeks of my life.  Not really teaching, just working on getting along.

This past week I was only in class Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  On Thursday, I was one of the chaperones for our math field trip while we went to Six Flags Great Adventure for an egg drop contest.  Don't worry, we had plenty of time for roller coasters.  That's me in the bright yellow shirt.


Something started to happen to me while on that field trip...

I had the opportunity to talk to other teachers.  Strange how we work in the same building with these people everyday but we never get a chance to talk to them.  What I learned while talking to them is how much they enjoy their students.  But hearing this didn't make me jealous, it reminded me of all the good times that I did have with my students this past year.  It also made me realize that the students that were on this trip are great students but just 3 years ago they were the Freshmen who were driving me crazy in Algebra 1.  And I realized that my students and I are just going through a funk.  And chances are, I will come out of this funk thinking, "That wasn't so bad."  

That was Thursday.  On Friday I attended a Keystone Technology Innovator Conference at the IU.  

The day started with Scott Snyder and Brandon Lutz doing their amazing presentation called 60 in 60.  They quickly go over 60 apps/websites in 60 minutes.  I just barely typed fast enough to take notes on the ones I wanted to explore more.  Then I realized that if I want to use these apps I'm going to have to spend a lot of my 'home' time to figure them out.  This is time that I don't have.  That's when I emailed my principal and asked for a sub so I could play.  He offered me a half-day sub which is perfect.  Thanks Mr. L!!

The rest of the day went smoothly.  I had the chance to network with other teachers and listen to other presentations that I will have to write about later.  

When I was feeling like quitting, something came along and gave me hope (Thursday) and inspiration (Friday).  

Networking selfie:



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