Thursday, August 30, 2012

One Week Down

Today marked a week of school completed.  I asked my Humanities class how many felt like it had gone by really quickly, like "how could it be a week gone by already?"  Only several raised their hands.  Most raised their hands when I asked how many felt like a lot longer than a week.

Interesting how different people experience time differently.  For the large number who are starting to feel time dragging with the school routine back in session, I am going to have to do my part and redouble my efforts to keep my classes relevant and interesting; I packed a lot into this first week of class--too much, I think, and till today didn't really give my class a chance to catch their breath.  I need to...... s.l.ow. d..o..w..n.. and allow time to absorb, reflect, process.  I'm finding there is no certain recipe for good teaching or a good class--there are things I should do, of course, and characteristics I should nurture in myself as a teacher, but ultimately, I need to read each class as they come in and figure out how best to reach them.

I like this new group of Juniors.  They are easy-going and good-natured.  They are not complainers, and willingly do whatever task is set before them.  I need to be careful not to burn them out this early in the game  (My hours of summer planning, I'm finding, has resulted in more good ideas than I actually have physical time for and so my main job as I follow my plans through the school-year will be to prune things back to a point that will still stretch the kids and help them to grow, but will not bury or exhaust them.  It's a tough balance to strike).  My Humanities class already has 6 separate assignments in the grade book--I think it took me a month last year to get to that number :P.  Time to ease up, and remind myself that coverage isn't why I teach... I need to allow time for uncoverage, deep thought,  reflection.

Fortunately, this group seems responsive and easy to work with, so finding a good balance to the work-load should not be too difficult.  And, the start to the year with the freshmen has been good, too.  The first two days were quiet, but I've had them doing storytelling practice the past two days (practicing to tell various creation myths) and that seems to have created at least a basic level of comfortability, and I noticed many more students being animated and expressive in their practicing today.

I'm working harder than ever.  Too hard, I think--after several hours of work at school two evenings ago, I started getting strange twinges and pains in my chest and tonight, I'm barely functioning due to sheer exhaustion... (maybe another sign that I need to ease the heck up with the pace that I'm setting).  That aside, the actual teaching has never felt so easy--I'm a long ways past the terror and bewilderment I felt nearly every day during my first full year in 2009-2010.  This is a job I love, and far from being a place that I am apprehensive about stepping into, the classroom is THE place I want to be.  Each day when 6th period ends, I start looking forward to 2nd period the next day.  This may also be a signal that I need to start actively building a personal life.  Hmm.

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