Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Big Change

I am changing schools, again. This time I am also changing subjects and teaching something I have never formally taught before. It came out of the blue. I never would have considered it and I almost didn't go to the interview or accept the job when it was offered.  But now it has been decided.

I am not teaching Math or Science, I am an English Teacher. I just finished my Multivariable Calculus class on Monday and today I signed up for an online "Teaching Writing" class at Mankato. Not too many people know that I have an English degree and an English teaching license.

Another thing you do not know (how could you from this sparsely populated blog?) is that I write and read a lot. I have many, many unpublished drafts on this blog. I read a lot when I am not taking math classes and teaching full-time. I like fiction. I fell in love with books as a teenager and learned to love literature when I read Moby Dick in 10th grade. I have read most of Shakespeare. I recently realized that I like Dickens and I love modern fiction.

The otherpiece is that I am going to a very different type of school. It is a school for pregnant and parenting teens. I have three boys, a husband and a male dog. This is going to be a big change, but it feels right.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

MCTM Notes

I didn't really go to a bad session, I took something away from every session I went to. I had a goal to learn about what to do with my Honors Stats after the AP exam and that was taken care of by Andy Pethan, his talk on "Rebuilding Statistics."

I am in my 3rd year of doing sbg and I am feeling a bit unsatisfied when I go to talks on the subject (but I still go). I have been incorporating problem solving along with my skills assessment and that is working well. I have made it so that my workload is manageable and the students are successful. The problem solving piece has made my course more challenging and interesting yet it is still accessible to the kids who struggle. I am in the process of organizing my stuff since I have been job hopping.

I liked what Carol Mahler did with her 7th graders at St. Louis Park. She developed a program so that students work at their own pace and it was very well planned out and successful. I am excited to see it all when she posts it and hope to use a lot of it when I teach 6th and 7th grade next year.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I am settling in to my new job. This has not been an easy year. I feel like I am finally back to teaching the way I like to teach. I am doing skills tests and problem solving, students are keeping track of their progress. I am not overwhelmed with reassessments. I have students who seem to be well prepared for my classes. I am happy to be teaching Geometry again. Technology is not emphasized at all and I can't believe how wonderful that feels. I have an old computer (a Dell with a floppy drive!) and a projector and it is working for me. I bought myself a Mac Mini for home. The hardest part is teaching Stats, I am finding it boring and don't know enough to make it interesting. I have only 4 students in my Stats class and I am their 4th teacher this year.

Anybody know any good math blogs that focus on Stats?

I haven't felt like writing. I am doing too much math and have little time. I am in the middle of a Calculus 2 class at Normandale (taking it as a refresher) which I am really enjoying.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Another New Job

I am changing jobs after the semester is over, it was too hard, the schedule, the students, the people, the chemistry on a cart. Going to work at a charter school teaching math. I think I could handle the students who didn't want to learn but not all the rest of it. This gets me back on the path I wanted to be on anyway.

I will be teaching Geometry and Stats and I will have my own room again.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Not too sure about this

I am six weeks in and I am not feeling too good. Some parts are ok. I am feeling ok about my classroom management. On Wednesday (when I was having a formal evaluation) my fifth hour kids worked like angels and seemed to be engaged and even showed evidence that they learned something.

I just don't like my schedule, 7 period day, five 45 min classes, one 45 min prep, 15 min for lunch and 45 min in my PLC, every day. Then I work at school until 4, go home make dinner, work on prep until 8:30 or 9, go to bed so I can wake up at 5, get back to school at 6:30, students at 7:15. It is a grueling schedule and I teach in 3 different rooms, science on a cart. I have 150 students and have not made enough phone calls. I tried doing it yesterday, but I cannot get on the data base to find the numbers. I feel crappy about my grading because I haven't figured out how to do sbg with my new curriculum (science, not math) and I am still working on a concept list. The bell schedule and prison type atmosphere (every door is locked at all times) is making me crazy. I am drinking Tension Tamer  and "Happy" Tea to help me through the day. I dread Mondays and the weeks are long.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Starting Over

I feel like a new teacher again and it is hard. I started at a new school teaching Chemistry and Physical Science not Math at all. I miss math a little. I hardly know anyone. I travel (three different classrooms a day). I have to submit detailed daily lesson plans for the entire week every Monday by 8 am to my coach. I am having trouble with the routines and expectations (breakfast to go, daily announcements, getting to my next class, setting up (and I havent done any real labs yet). OK enough complaining, that is the bad part, except one more thing, I need a computer , it is on order but there is some sort of problem with our district and Apple's new operating system. I am a Mac Baby. I cry if I have to use a PC (not, really, I am getting better at it, but I really miss the Mac).

Here is the good part. My coworkers are helpful as can be. I like the students a lot. I am not having issues with my classroom management. I was really worried about this after working in a private school so long. I can feel how my experience is helping me through this transition. Being new is both tiring and invigorating. I am trying Interactive notebooks and I just graded a big batch and they were pretty good.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What the Heck?

I have been thinking about writing about my interviewing experience for a while. I have talked to friends and family about an injustice that I experienced. The injustice is not really directed at me but at the students in some of these schools. First of all you should know that most of my experience has been in private schools. But, I went to a Chicago Public School, I taught my first year at a suburban public school and I taught summer school in an urban setting this year. At two of the  urban, public schools where I interviewed, I felt scolded for my lack of experience with "tough" kids. I was essentially told that I was totally unprepared to teach this type of student because these students don't want to learn and their behavior is bad.


Do all private school kids have great behavior and want to learn?  Do all public school kids have bad behavior and hate learning? We know that is not true. This experience is still bothering me because I feel like there can be no movement of teachers from private schools to public schools and a lot of what I have learned about teaching came from my private school experiences.  Thankfully, I did get a job at a public school and I can transfer my skills but it still bugs me that these two schools couldn't see that and they have a crummy attitude about their own students behavior and desire to learn.