We finished our first full week of school today. A few quick reflections…
Mind warp at mad speed
This year I’m piloting a blended learning class at our school. It’s a 11/12th grade section of US History that meets twice per week in the classroom. On the other days, students have assignments to complete online and independent research they’re working on. On the days we have class, I have to make it from my sixth grade Language Arts class across campus and upstairs to the second floor of the Upper School building in less than 5 minutes.
It’s a logistical hurdle, but more than that, it’s a mental shift. This is my first year teaching juniors and seniors. So far the biggest difference I’ve noticed is how much harder I have to work to read them. Sixth graders are still at an age where most of them will cry or sing or dance or laugh or openly pout or look seriously confused in my class, but that’s certainly not the case with the juniors and seniors. I’ve dialed my usually gregarious teaching persona down a notch with the upper schoolers. Which isn’t to say I don’t get excited about ideas or make the occasional wry remark, but I’m still feeling out the right tone with them in a way that I feel like I don’t have to do with the sixth graders.
By Tuesday, I was feeling pretty caught up on work, so I coasted a bit. (Played with blog design for longer than I should, read some articles, etc.) By Friday morning, having been at school late for Meet the Teacher night on Thursday, I was pretty snowed under. There’s a sweet spot working hard enough to keep up with the demands, but not so hard that I’m tempted to slack afterward. I am finding that working in the library during my planning periods several days a week is helping my productivity.
I love teaching
The messiness. The intoxicating feeling of getting sucked into a particular lesson or quandary. The incredible complexity of it. The hilarious things my sixth graders say and their sometimes strange obsessions (so far they include Chuck Norris, cupcakes, and eskimos). The incredulity of the Upper Schoolers when I had all their names memorized on the first day and the great personal artifacts they posted on the group blog.