Friday, October 14, 2005


All these days off is really fucking with my system. I don't know when I am anymore. Oh well, it's over now.

Today was my good busy day. I had the students proofread that awful excerpt about teachers' pay that I posted recently. All but maybe four students missed the compound words, and an alarming number missed the "where" for "were." Gah!

We went through it together, error by error. This whole exercise ended up taking the entire reading workshop. But that's totally cool.

So for writing workshop, I handed out copies of my rubric. They began by grading their own drafts according to the rubric. Next, they read their own story aloud to a partner, who listened and gave feedback. After that, they traded stories with other partners and read and graded them silently.

It seemed to work quite well. Hurrah. I hope they make a lot of improvements over the weekend. I hope that I get a whole bunch of level 4 stories on Monday.

Today, especially, I had a LOT of time during class in which I wasn't doing anything. And I keep remembering my mom's repeated words about how good teachers should really be facilitators. Not to toot my own horn that I'm an awesome teacher, obviously. But this year, I feel like I'm not teaching many new things; rather, I'm reminding, giving notes, and then setting them loose to practice. I guide them as they work, and we go through things together at the end. I guess it feels nice that my group of kids are effective self-starters, and that the discipline/routines facilitate ease as well. But it feels like I'm cheating, kinda. Like, shouldn't I be opening their eyes to new things? And teaching them new stuff? ELA is so abstract and repetitive. I'm not sure how many "new" things there are to learn in a subject like writing or reading. Especially for my high-level kids, who are actually on grade level and understand things like subject-verb agreement (even if they don't know that that's what it's called. I guess I can teach them that kind of thing).

Sure, I could have been conferencing on a day like this, but A)I forgot, and B)I figured they needed to hear/see their peers' work and critiques. If they hadn't taken my comments to heart yet, a conference might be a waste of time.

Gotta start those conferences at some point, though, I guess. Blah.

At lunch, three of my students, and a few random kids from the lunchroom helped me transport and then begin sorting the goods that have so far been donated (is that a split infinitive?) for hurricane victims. Mr Principal told me that some displaced folks are currently living in very cramped quarters in Queens, and that we will be delivering some of our donations to them on Monday. So they gotta be sorted.

And boy, there is a lot already. Mostly clothes. We got the food separated, and the shoes, during lunch.

I came back during eighth period, my only prep on Fridays. I sorted through two or three bags of clothing. One minute, I'm sitting there, going through and folding stuff, and the next minute, my left lower back has cramped and I can hardly breathe.

It hasn't stopped spasming and aching since. It's now six pm and it's getting worse. Since I don't have a heating pad, I boiled some water and poured it on a towel, then lay with the towel under my lower back. No help. Just popped some fakeAleve. I sure hope it helps, because holy shit. Walking, sitting, laying, all hurts. Boo! Waah! Oww!

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