I was going to write this anyway, but was lent a helping hand on the title:


I admit that I do not like being bad at something where I have a strong interest. In my previous career, I phoned it in all the time because it quickly became apparent that my minimum was seen as pretty good by my superiors and there was little to no incentive to knock something out of the park. Particularly when it came to reports, I always knew my boss would want to fix something, so I stopped putting my full energy into it. Contrast that to my current line of work, sitting a vast 18 days before the start of school and I'm already obsessing over every detail of the first couple weeks. I think it's because I'm getting stir crazy and need somewhere to go during the day. I also found that my schedule and student list got posted the other day and that sent my excitement/anxiety level up 1000%. At this point, Year 4, I have a reputation, and I worry about living up to it, remembering the jokes that worked well, the lessons that were awesome and how to fix the lessons that were not. All that AND I have to compete in the Tri-Wizard Tournament!

Anyway, in grab bag style, some things that have progressed in the last little while:

  • This year's War on Bad Lessons involves a dive head first into strong inquiry. I *think* I'm starting to have breakthroughs in this area. A couple days ago in the middle of a training I had a brilliant idea about this sort of thing, finally! You have no idea how long I've sat there at stared at 101qs trying to figure out how the heck to mold that onto Algebra II. More on this in the brief future.
  • In that same training I found a couple fun games to use as team building activities: Rope Shackles and Arrowhead Puzzle
  • I satisfied my compulsive urges and scripted out the first day. It's nothing special, procedures and a couple getting to know each other activities. I want to build a sense of community in my classes, so I think brief parts of the first week will be spent doing name games and personal questions. I'm going to use Pre-Cal to pilot a lot of my ideas, they are usually more willing to indulge my crazy ideas
  • Algebra II got some love this summer. I didn't pay much attention to it in the summer of 2011 because I didn't think I'd be teaching it the following year. Turns out the last minute change was for the best as now I'm armed with a ton of material. Myself and the team leader met to fill in topics that weren't covered last year and/or upping the difficulty as needed. The fruits of that labor will trickle onto here as soon as I get myself to type up the problems.
  • I did a brain dump for the first semester of Algebra II and strated scratching out thoughts on inquiry methods, activities, and where my material holes were.
  • Math Boot Camp is going to happen the same way it did last year with Pre-Cal. I like the problem sets and left them be, though I know there are a couple random errors that I found last year and can't remember if they got corrected. Oh well, they weren't major as I remember. Only difference is that every time I give a test, there will be a relevant Boot Camp section at the bottom of the test. Last year we did it and hooray it was great at getting the juices flowing, but I never really came back to the concepts.
  • I don't plan on changing my procedures much, I think they're in a good place provided I crack down on kids returning pencils.
  • TVs in full deployment from Day 1, heck yes
  • I'm going to try real hard to do one of those photo a day projects
  • I have not invested much in Pre-Cal this summer, probably because of all the work I did LAST summer. The flow was good last year, just needs a little more writing here and there.

I'm still anxious about the start of the year. I think most of it is excitement. I don't know what I would be worried about, I feel way more prepared and confident about everything. Main goal is War on Bad Lessons, second goal is Work Less. Probably part of why I'm trying to get as much written now so I won't toil away on a Tuesday night some time in the future.

AuthorJonathan Claydon