Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The world turns upside down again

Hello everyone, welcome to week three of my world.

On Monday morning, before leaving to go teach more Spanish (armed with not only a week's plans but a pop quiz too!), I got a voice mail telling me that I had been placed. For real this time, permanently.

I am teaching 6th grade English/Language Arts (ELA) at IS-, in Queens. I was very relieved to discover that it's still a little less than an hour travel time--a train and a bus, plus another bus four blocks if I'm lazy. They threw me in to teach third period (what has turned out to be the rowdiest class, too)...and I had NOTHING. Nada. I introduced myself, talked about Seattle, and gave a random homework assignment, to write a one-page autobiography. That way I could learn about the students, and get a glimpse of their writing skills.

Today I reviewed my rules--Respect and Be Prepared. Simple, but thorough--respect yourself, other students, the teacher, property belonging to yourself, others, and the teacher. Respect means listening, following directions, keeping hands and feet to self, etc. Be Prepared physically--in uniform with all of your class materials: three writing utensils, notebooks, etc; academically--study, do work, have homework completed; mentally--be ready to learn! Your brain should be 'on' when you walk in my door.

Let's see. So, because ELA is comprised of both a reading workshop and writing workshop, I have each class for two periods. Thus, I only have three classes. Fewer names, better connections, one hopes. That one rowdy class pisses me off, but I think I'm wearing them down. I paraded them back to the hallway today, and had them stand up to get quiet. Tomorrow I'm finally bringing in a whistle. Take that, chatty eleven year olds!! Bwah. And the table point chart thing is still developing.

Somewhere between a quarter and a half of each class is actually good students, who pay attention and attempt to be on task. That helps me mentally, which...is better than nothing.

Things change. And so it goes.

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