Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Just Another Manic....Er, Election Day

Not like *I* actually voted today; I sent in my ballot last week, thank goodness. Trying to vote would have made today even crazier.

We had professional development all morning, by department. For ELA, we got some helpful information for teaching test prep, poetry, and narrative response. After lunch (which I spent talking to one of the coaches and then working in my room), there were grade meetings. The AP and Dean led that one for 6th grade. We got some clarification on discipline issues and "jurisdiction," and I got a great suggestion for dealing with bathroom issues (use a sign-out sheet and special pass; only one pass per week per student).

The new-teacher meeting was with the principal. That was actually pretty neat. He told us about his first teaching experience, being alone and not supported by administration. So he welcomed those of us that got here after the start of the school year (four!), and had the whole group talk about pros and cons--what things were and were not working. Several people (including me) talked about the supportive and caring administration/atmosphere. We also talked about discipline/management issues. He was great about the whole thing, very open and accepting, and assured us that he will take the lists and then get back to us in a follow-up meeting.

I stayed in my room until just about 5.00. I made a bunch of charts--Homework tracking, books-read tracking, the list of writing performance standards that I will laminate before hanging. I moved a bunch of charts around on the walls, adding some, taking a couple down. My room is pretty artifact-heavy, and I have now run out of room. Thus, I took down my own, personal artifacts--maps and picture-posters. It was a little depressing. A lot, actually, because I felt like I was removing my one personal stamp on the room. Not only that, but the bare, institutional-blue wall was just plain ugly and sad. Anyway, I also quickly rearranged the reading books and bags, to accomodate the new seating chart.

I had been planning a new project for writing an autobiography. Mainly because I'd thought that was one of the things on our vague-ass ten-week plan. Yesterday I started thinking about ways to make it more interesting and creative and include presentations. Today I double-checked the plan and I was mistaken. The only writing tasks for this bit are reports and response to literature. We got the reports done, thank god, and so I guess now we'll have to work on doing more complete and full responses to literature.

But god, there is so much I need to do. My kids need a lot of help, and I have a lot of catch-up to do. I feel like there are eight lessons I should be teaching RIGHT AWAY. But I can't. The other teacher in the inclusion class talked to me more today about how lost she feels, coming into class, not knowing what we'll be doing. Honestly, sometimes I feel that way, too. I explained that's because I don't know what's going on. I need to be more organized and begin planning in earnest, for longer-term. (Because really, my ideas and plans morph every day, several times a day). Obviously, for many reasons surrounding this issue, I feel extremely overwhelmed and underprepared.

So I tried to be proactive. For a few minutes into the lunch break, I talked to the assistant literacy coach, Ms C. She agreed to meet with me tomorrow to help me with planning. It sounds like she understands what I need, and what I need to do. I'm sure she will be a big help.

For the rest of the week, I will take the advice of my mentor, Al. He talked about teaching the writing process, you know, pre-writing, drafting, revising, proofreading, publishing. We did all those pieces for the report, but I never really spoke about the larger concept of the writing process. So I thought I'd use the alliteration work we started Monday, and revisit the writing process. Monday's work was both pre-writing and drafting. My plan for tomorrow is for both revising and proofreading. Thursday will be publishing (rewriting a correct copy and decorating it pretty so I can put the good ones on the bulletin board), and of course, Friday is test prep.

November 22 is the last day of the current ten-week plan. No one knows when we get the new ten-week plan. I SINCERELY hope that it is well before November 23. And not only because that's Thanksgiving break. Ha.

All this work and most of me doesn't care about the election hullaballoo. Everyone should vote, and then everyone should shut the fuck up and go about their business until everything is FINISHED BEING COUNTED. I don't see any point in watching numbers come in that will be changing for awhile anyway. Especially after 2000, it's not over until the fat lady sings in the Supreme Court, if need be.

The fate of the country is being calculated today. And I'm all for that. But I have plenty of other things to do that worry about numbers and which way it will turn out. Give me the news when there is actual news to report; ie, a President-elect.

Call me undemocratic, dumb, or just plain devoid of morals, but I really missed watching Scrubs tonight. I needed the distraction.

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