Tuesday, December 04, 2007

you're tipsy, you're turvy

I am up irresponsibly late and I will probably continue my irresponsibility on to tomorrow but you didn't hear that from me and I don't know what you're talking about. It's been a strange day. Kind of a weird week, but mostly a strange day. The roommate was supposed to be camping tonight but there was an issue with her camping companion that exploded into all out bizarre with the park rangers and she is now home, though very depressed. Instead of working, I've been trying to be a good friend. Sometimes, even for the guilt-laden teacher, it is more important to be there for the girl who keeps you fed and sane than to get the papers graded or the lesson plans written.

There have been some strange incidents at school that have spawned new behavior issues where before they were becoming manageable. I have a student who, I am sadly convinced, will end up with a gun in his hand and/or a bullet in his brain. I hope that this will not become the case, but if things keep going the way they are going I think it is inevitable. I can't even say that I like this particular boy - I really sincerely dislike him - but it does depress me to see a kid make such bad choices so young. There was an incident on Monday (rather, multiple incidents) involving other students from two of the sixth grade classes so that they pulled him from my homeroom to separate him from one and had to assign him to my second period to keep him away from a student in my third period. Unfortunately, putting him in my second period class is a DISASTER waiting to happen. I have no control over this boy - no one does at our particular school - and he is being put into a classroom with the most combined anger management issues and behavior disorders. He's malicious and it is going to make my life a living hell. I've made my feelings about the matter clear with the principal and will continue to do so. If he is antagonizing the other students so much that he has to be removed from TWO classes, then he needs to be removed entirely rather than give him another chance to antagonize in a third class. Is there a better situation for him? I hope so for his sake. For mine and my other students', I hope it is a situation at another school.

One of my students in special education has returned after being absent the better part of two months. I was kind of relieved to see him gone. But nothing I can do but take him back and try to bring him around to the ways of my new and improved calmer homeroom.

In some good news, I am a TAP (Teacher Advancement Program) teacher of the month at my school. TAP is basically built in professional development meetings we go to twice a week. I got a good observation from my master teacher/mentor today and actually felt pretty good about it because she walked in just as I had an epiphany in the middle of my lesson. This week we started on ratios and today I was trying to teach my students about equal ratios (i.e. 2:1 = 4:2) and using multiplication to make equal ratios. I was trying to get their minds around the oh-so-complication idea of picking a number and multiplying both sides of your ratio by that same number. Multiply by 2, 5, 10, 100, 56 - I don't care just as long as you multiply both sides of your ratio by the same thing. Voila! Equal Ratios! But the lesson has bombed in my first class and was bombing in my second class. Until I had this epiphany about sets and I began to see the confusion diminish. It was very satisfying to have someone come in an witness my moment of clarity and actually see it working with the kids.

As a first-year teacher, I have to say that it is kind of a ripoff for the students who get the teacher in the first year. They are the guinea pigs, the practice round and they won't get the full benefit of all the billions of things a first-year teacher is learning constantly about everything the job means and how to teach their subject. I want to give my students the chance to have the teacher I can be, could have been, would have been if I had just known better in the first place.

Oh well. I've got a $25 gift certificate to The Educator! Time to go by flash cards and workbooks!


Leigh C. said...

Mazel tov!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on "teacher of the month"! I am sure it is much deserved.

However, I hate the TAP program with a passion. In my opinion, it is a costly bunch of bs that has done nothing for our school/district. It is expecially impractical to have a research-based "strategy" to use in all grade levels of math for weeks at a time when topics in math change almost daily and are not the same in all grade levels at the same time.

I am curious if you think it has been helpful in your development as a teacher.