Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December 7, 2016 - Monthly Post #DITL

The following post is a contribution to the Day in the Life Book Project initiated by Tina Cardone:

Yesterday all of our after school activites were cancelled for the impending snow.  Sure enough, by 5 pm, it started to snow.  We were absolutely certain that with the snow falling at a steady rate all night we would have a two-hour delay today.

I woke up at 5 am, and no phone call.  I hit snooze.  Again no phone call.  I laid and waited.  Still no phone call.  Finally, at 5:30, I got out of bed and started getting ready for work.  We somehow had no delay.  I was able to leave my house just before 7, and make it work by 7:20.  Yesterday, I stayed late to make sure everything was set up for today because I knew today was going to be a little hectic.  I was able to make-up a homework assignment for one class, and get everything settled and ready for the day.

My first class is General Geometry.  Yesterday we worked on determining if polygons were similar.  Today students completed a worksheet independently to practice, and most students finished with enough time to complete their homework in class.  I like classes like this.  I walk around, answer questions, and get to check each student's work.  I even had time to prepare work for my absent students, and talk to students about their grades.

My second class is Geometry and follows right after General Geometry.  I often find the transition to be stressful.  Our administration wants us to be stationed in the hallway during passing time, but I have to set up my board for a different class, put baskets for the notebook supplies on my tables, and make sure that the handouts are on the table for students when they come in.  My Geometry classes are currently working on our proofs unit.  Today we took a break from proofs, and learned about isosceles triangles.  The best thing about proofs is that they make students appreciate algebraic problems.  The lesson went well overall, but it was a lot of me talking at the front of the room, and I would like to get away from doing that as much as possible.  Tomorrow we will apply isosceles triangles to proofs.  This will be our last topic, and on Tuesday we will finally test and move on from this unit.

The next period I had my prep.  Every other day a colleague uses my classroom, and I have to relocate to the faculty lounge.  This can be frustrating because the faculty lounge is usually full of substitutes, and since they don't have anything to do, they are often talking loudly.  I have to put in my headphones and listen to music because it can be very distracting, and I try to make my time as productive as possible.  Today I was able to grade some worksheets, write sub plans, and make copies. 

I returned to my classroom for my next two classes.  These classes are repeats of my first two classes.  When I returned to my room, the teacher that taught there third period told me to give our secretary a call.  Before I could, he called me.  The last fundraiser I did with the senior class was delivered a day early, and he asked if it should be brought to my classroom.  While my students completed their worksheets, I was able to organize the delivery and prepare it for students to pick-up after school. 

After these two classes, I had my lunch.  During this time I was able to prepare my objective and homework boards for tomorrow, and set everything up for the sub that was covering for my last class.  During my last class, I had to attend a meeting for a student.  The meeting seemed to be very productive.

After the meeting, I had my last prep.  One of my seniors came in, and we continued working on a project that she is making for her boyfriend for Christmas.  It's an adorable photo collage on a chipboard heart.  During this period I also had to call the travel agent to finalize the cost of the senior class trip.  The phone call continued into the next period, and I was 5 minutes late for my hall duty. 

Hall duty is the last period of the day.  Our school day ends just before 3.  Today after school, I hosted a math meet.  My job was to secure a location (my classroom and my neighbor's classroom), purchase snacks (with my own money for 45 students), and put together the answer sheets.  Just as I finished setting up the snacks, the other schools started to arrive.  Unfortunately, I forgot the aforementioned answer sheets, and was able to make copies quickly.  I learned from the other teachers that they're schools don't allow them to make their own copies, and one school doesn't even allow teachers to print anything out.  This made me very grateful for my school's copy and print situation.

Students had time to snack and socialize.  Then we got to work.  Meets consist of 6 individual problems given two at a time at 10 minute intervals, and then a relay question.  My team is not full, we are supposed to have 5 students, but only 3 out of our whole school are interested and able to participate.  This season has not been good for us because it's hard to compete with full teams.  (Each correct answer earns the team one point, so we're at a disadvantage.)  Today my team did well.  We tied for second, and my team captain scored the most points out of all the competitors.  He also answered the relay question correctly, which was a first for our team.  It was very exciting.

The math meet was over by 5:30, but I had to wait with my students that had to take the 6:00 bus home.  I returned home by 6:30, and had two packages waiting for me. I opened and sorted the contents of my packages (mostly Christmas presents), and ate leftovers for dinner.  I ran a load of laundry, and uploaded a letter of recommendation for one of my seniors applying to college.  Then I began writing this post.  It is now 10 pm, and once I post this, I am heading to bed.

Reflection Questions:
1.  Teachers make a lot of decisions throughout the day. Sometimes we make so many it feels overwhelming. When you think about today, what is a decision/teacher move you made that you are proud of? What is one you are worried wasn’t ideal?

There is one decision that I am in the process of making.  I am not sure that I want to continue serving as the senior high math team coach next year.  I was hoping to be able to consider this decision in the spring, but our budgets are due when we return from winter break, and now the money for the team has to be included in my budget, so I need to decide now.  I'm weighing the pros and cons.  Right now, I just feel like it is too much.  I would probably have been fine with advising the senior class and coaching the math team if I didn't have so much going on in my person life.  I won't be advising the senior class next year.  (Each advisor moves up with their class, and once my class graduates I am done.)  But even with less responsibilities, my heart is not really in it.  I was never the type of person to spend my free time toiling over difficult math problems for fun.  I would rather craft because I already spend so much of my time doing math.  The only problem is that if I'm not coaching the math team, I don't think anyone else in my department will. 

2.  Every person’s life is full of highs and lows. Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher. What are you looking forward to? What has been a challenge for you lately?

My latest challenge has been finding a good time to take a sick day.  I'm giving two tests next week, and don't want to take a day off and push back either test.  Plus, there's all the extra planning that goes into taking a sick day.  I know this sounds very silly, but I'm not too sick to make it through the day.  I think I just need a day of rest.  I've been stuck with a stuffy nose, congestion, and a sore throat on and off for over a week, and I am just exhausted in general.  Perhaps there will be snow day next week, and it will solve all of my problems.

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