Wednesday, June 7, 2017

June 7, 2017 - Monthly Post #DITL

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

It's June 7th.  Usually by this time things are winding down, my life is becoming simpler, and I'm finally able to breathe.  Not the case this year.  I'm still exhausted.  I'm still overwhelmed.  The biggest thing happening this year was the senior trip.  The senior trip is finally over as of last Saturday night, and it feels like the biggest weight is finally off my shoulders, but there's still so much more to do.

Right now I have 3 class days left, and then Regents exams begin.  I'm trying to get my students ready for their exams, plan the senior class faculty appreciation brunch, and I have to put together a senior class slide show.  

This morning I got up, got ready, and made a quick and easy breakfast.  I arrived to school at approximately 7:05, which is remarkable considering I hit snooze not once, but twice this morning.  I ran my daily errands (checking mailbox, signing in, dropping off work in the ISS bin), and then I returned to my room, sat down at my desk and wrote a to do list for the day.  My first priority was writing out cards for my seniors that I prepared gift bags for.  I put together gift bags for my class officers and a few other girls that were special to me and about to graduate.  This was easiest to do when I had a quiet moment.  I then graded work that students turned in over the last few days.

I was almost finished with my grading when it was time to prepare for the day.  About five minutes before first period began, I put out new pencils for the day, turned on the lights, and prepared the projector.  My first and fourth period classes were tasked with completing a review sheet for their final.  Before today, we went over each unit with notes and practice questions.  Today, we completed practice problems from two units.  The instructions I gave my students were to try each problem on their own, use their notes if absolutely necessary, but that I would not be helping them until we were ready to go over the problems because I won't be helping them during the final.  My students were receptive to my reasoning for not giving them help, and they got to work right away.  While these classes were working, I was able to finish up some grading tasks that I had left to do.

The biggest hurdle right now is that in most of their other classes, they are done.  Finals started on May 24th, and once students take their final in most classes, they are done learning and spend their time watching movies or making up work in their other classes.  My final for this class is not until the very last day of classes (June 12th), so getting students to work after having "off" in their other classes can be a struggle. 

My second and fifth period classes are working through practice regents questions.  I've been assigning questions as homework, and then we'll spend the next class going over each question.  At this point many students are becoming more confident, and many other students are starting to realize that I have to work to make up for slacking throughout the year.

Third period is my prep.  During this time I had to document questions that students completed on their test last week.  When I was away on senior trip, I gave my students a mini-regents.  I like to see how my students do when I'm not there and they are truly on their own.  Unfortunately, some of my students used my absence as an opportunity to cheat.  I took pictures of the students' test questions to compare to the answers that are published online.  My school's cheating policy is to write a referral, give the student a zero on the test, and notify parents.  Right now I'm making certain that students cheated before writing the referral.  I was not able to finish this task today.

After fifth period, I had my lunch period.  I used this time to call a local bagel shop to order bagels for our brunch.

My sixth period class is SAT Prep.  They all finished taking their SATs last Saturday, so they have declared themselves done.  I did a final short lesson with them, and then allowed them free time.  Again, since their other classes have completed finals, they're now accustomed to doing nothing in their classes, so getting them to work is like pulling teeth.

Seventh period is my last prep of the day.  Today I had a few seniors come in to hang out.  We talked and signed yearbooks.  This was my favorite part of the day.  I'm going to miss them so much, and I'm cherishing my last moments with them.  I gave gifts to most of the students that I had gifts for.  It was so nice to give them a little something.  (I bought some cute notebooks, pens, notepads, small stationary supplies, and highlighters, and distributed them throughout a few gift bags.)  Seniors have been visiting me and signing my yearbook for the past few days, and this has been taking up most of my preps.  I'm losing time to complete tasks, but it is totally worth it.

Eighth period was my study hall.  I was able to catch up on some tasks this period.  The highlight of this period was when one of my seniors came in to drop off the ceiling tile she painted for me.  My school has a tradition where the seniors choose one of their favorite teachers, and paint a ceiling tile for the teacher.  The teachers receive a beautiful one-of-a-kind piece of artwork to decorate their classrooms with, and the seniors are able leave a permanent mark on the school while recognizing a teacher that made a difference for them.  It's a true honor to receive a tile.

After eighth period, I stayed until 4:45.  I signed up to do regents review after school Tuesday through Thursday.  It's my last chance to help students that want to prepare more the regents.  I like that I get to work with a smaller group and get to interact with a few of my students on a more personal level before the regents.  Today students chose one topic to review, and then we selected some regents questions to discuss together.

I left from school and went straight home.  I spent some time talking with my husband about our days and unwinding, then we had dinner.  After dinner, I sat down to watch tv and start this blog post.

Reflection Questions:
1.  We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is. As teachers we work to build relationships with our coworkers and students. Describe a relational moment you had with someone recently.

Today was full of relational moments with my seniors.  My school has grades 7 through 12 in 1 building.  When a teacher advises a class, they stay with the class from 7th through 12th grade.  Last year the senior class advisor took a job in another school, so I became the senior class advsior for this year.  I advised the class of 2015 two years ago, and even though it was very stressful, I decided to be an advisor again because I really enjoy the students in this class.  

Now that their senior year is coming to an end, I am learning that I've connected with more students that I thought.  I purchased a yearbook to remember this special year, and I invited the students to sign my yearbook.  I've been amazed at how many have taken time out of their day to stop by and write me a message.  I'm trying to not read any of the messages until after the last day of classes, but I did see a few sweet notes like, "You inspire me to be a kind person every day" and "You made learning math enjoyable, even though I hate math."  Some of these are from the students are more reserved and don't often volunteer to speak their minds, so those messages are even more meaningful.  
2.  What else happened this month that you would like to share?

The biggest thing to happen this month was senior trip.  We went to Ocean City, Maryland and Hershey Park.  The trip was great, and most students were very appreciative.  Also, the yearbooks came in right before we left the school, so we were able to look through the yearbook while traveling.  I was surprised to find that this year's yearbook was dedicated to me.  It is an incredible honor, and I will treasure this yearbook always. 

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