Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Where Does a Year Go?

The answer to that question is that I have no idea.

My teaching life has taken over almost every other aspect of my life. This shouldn't be a complete shock. I've been teaching for 37 years.

I was trying to figure out why blogging has been on the back burner for the past few years, and it finally dawned on me that the blogging is directly proportional to the change in job assignments.

1. For the past six years I have been directing at least one show a year. (That knocks out three months a year for each show.)

2. Two years ago, I changed rooms and teaching assignments so that meant new preps.
            Actually, my job seems to be constantly changing, so I am having a new class to prepare for almost every year.
            Five years ago, I was teaching five hours of Sophomore English and a class called Exploring Teaching As A Career.
            Three years ago, I was teaching five hours of Sophomore English and an intervention class called Reading Strategies.
                   That was the year, I made the switch to Standards Based Grading. (More on that later.)
            Two years ago, I started teaching three hours of Sophomore English, and one hour each of Speech, Drama, and Forensics. Three new preps and I was still directing.  For Forensics, I was also attending weekend tournaments from February through April, meaning life got quite a bit crazier.
             This past year, I taught three hours of Sophomore English, Speech/Reading Strategies, Drama, and Forensics. Speech is a semester class so I picked up a Reading Strategies class second semester.
              Next year, I am teaching three hours of Sophomore English, Stagecraft/Speech, Drama and Forensics. AND, my brother and I are directing the fall musical instead of the spring play. So the changes continue.

             Confused yet? I am!

3. Standards Based Grading took a considerable bite out of my time. I like it and believe in it, but WOW!
               Essentially, each standard is evaluated and re-taught if needed. There are two practice evaluations and then a final evaluation.
               If students are struggling, we put them into tutoring hub, where they can be re-taught and/or re-tested.
               If they just aren't doing the work, we put them into academic lunch. (A forced lunch with an administrator where they complete missing work.)
              There are 9 literature standards, 10 informational text standards, 10 writing standards, 6 speaking/listening standards, and 5 language standards. (Each of them to be evaluated at least 3 times.)

           Now, there is no way that I evaluate all of those standards in one year. Our State and our English department have designated that some that need more emphasis than others, so those are the ones that receive the bulk of my class time. Since State Testing is sophomore year, I spend quite a bit of time on the State emphasized standards. (Looking back, I evaluated around 20 standards--and some of them were evaluated both first and second semesters.)

          For finals, students choose between 2-5 standards that they want to re-evaluate. (Kind of a cafeteria plan where they pick and choose.) We have written an evaluation for each standard covered in the semester. They complete the evaluation to see if they have mastered the standard yet, and their performance can change their grade for that standard, which in turn changes their grade for the semester.

         And then vacation comes and I collapse in a big heap...!

One of these days I'll figure out how to teach and have a life outside of school. I'll let you know when that happens.

Right now, I'm just happy that I am on summer break. Hopefully, that means I'll have time to catch up on this teaching blog. I have a list of things I want to share.

On the other hand, I don't want to spend too much of my summer thinking about school. I need the brain break.

I sound like a student, don't I? They've taught me well.

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