It's May, and I'm writing my finals this weekend. All the signs of summer are here. It's super hot, the kids are squirmy, my seniors are off for this assembly and that assembly every other day, and my body is rejecting the alarm clock. Let's discuss some numbers and ambitious plans for the summer and next year.

1st year: 95 kids
2nd year: 105 kids
3rd year: 137 kids
Soccer Games: 18 (+25 where I was spectator)
PD Hours Off-Contract: 36
PD Classes Taught: 2
Algebra Topics: 49
Algebra Tests: 23
Pre-Cal Topics: 48
Pre-Cal Tests: 21
Stickers Awarded: 1200+
Failing Students: 0*

My second year was intense from a "lots of preps to plan standpoint" and this year was intense from a "how can I take this to 11?" I also established myself as a bit of a crazy person and I have some serious momentum behind my grading practices. In Algebra we got to explore some topics that don't usually get a lot of love and in Pre-Cal we're well underway with a capstone project. It deserves its own entry but here's the idea:

We covered 9 major topics, I had the six groups in each class pick one. They had to come up with a silly scene revolving around that topic that we would weave into a class video. Ex: pep rally where the cheerleaders complain the crowd wave needs more amplitude. After we complete the class video, each group must produce an instructional video related to that topic. So far the filming sessions have been hilarious and ninjas, zombies, Batman, and a Justin Bieber cut out are inolved.

The biggest task ahead of me after writing the finals is the annual Nice Things Day. Long ago, my Calculus teacher had us come up with something nice to say about everyone in the class. Anonymously they were added to a card for that person and in the end you got comments from all your peers and your teacher. Easy to do with 12 kids in the class, harder with 30. So I adapted it a little. I go out and buy some blank notecards, this year it will be quite a few. I force myself to write something nice and positive about every kid in the room. With some it's a slam dunk, others it's a challenge. This is a task I keep in the back of my head for those moments when some kid pushes my buttons regularly. I know that I have to make peace and find something good to say. I feel like this prevents the onsent of Bitter Teacher Syndrome. A kid should feel like they were noticed in your room, I can't think of a better way to accomplish this. You can go really far with this concept if you want.

Lastly, my curriculum needs some organization. I'm to a point where I've gotten good at subdividing things into topics and finding assignments that pair well with that topic. So I need to add some structure to it all and put it up here. It's a goal I've had since Christmas, hopefully I can pull it off this time.


*some would attribute this to having upper level students, and some dismiss their high failure rates as the kids' problem, I would hand them my group of Algebra II seniors and see where the real problem is

AuthorJonathan Claydon