Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Not-So-Inspiring Post

I was going to write a really super sappy blog post about teaching, how much I love it and the students I teach. I was going to create this beautiful ode to teaching that would inspire everyone and share my love of this career I chose.

And then my 3rd hour College Prep Lit class walked in the door.

And I was reminded that teaching is not always perfect and inspiring. Sometimes it resembles a Welcome Back, Kotter episode....




In the space of ten minutes today, I:

  • Listened to complaints about how hot my room is and explained they could sit in the hall and work
  • Repeated the directions for the day 19 times (Once for each student. Because you know it only counts if you say it directly to them)
  • Explained 19 times that the assignment for the day was also on Schoology---our LMS (This is besides the fact that I also handed out a a calendar with the work for each day)
  • Reminded one he needs this class to graduate and to get to work
  • Again, listened to complaints about the heat. Again, suggested the hallway
  • Explained that the work for this assignment needed to be worthy of the 20 points (a point for each word, right?)
  • Regretted telling a student she could use the "B" word in her letter when describing a character. That opened the door for negotiations with the others. 
  • Again, reminded senior he needed to get some work done
  • More complaints about the heat
  • Told students I was rewriting my blog post. 
  • Explained that John Travolta was hot--- in 1975---when I was 18.  They just shook their heads and had no clue who I was talking about until a bright girl in the corner reminded us he was in the movie Old Dogs.
Finally, class ended. 15 of 19 turned in their work. 
Here comes 4th hour...

"Geez. It's like a sauna in here."


The lesson? Some days--heck, most days--are more like Kotter than any of us want to admit. This group I have 3rd hour are smart, they discuss and argue and back themselves up with facts. Most of them read a lot. 

And somedays, they like to push my buttons. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

My Last Lecture


"How exactly, do you catalogue your childhood dreams?"   Randy Pausch

In 2008, Randy Pausch, along with Jeffrey Zaslow, wrote a little book entitled The Last Lecture. It's a book that has stayed with me for a long time. In fact, I'm rereading it right now. Although it's an extension of a lecture he presented at Carnegie-Mellon, I really look at it as his love letter to his kids. You see, at the time he gave the lecture and wrote the book, Pausch was dying of pancreatic cancer, and he had three kids under five.


Well, I have a love letter I want to write also. A love letter to my school family, my kids, and teaching. As of today, I have nineteen days left with students and one more inservice. I've begun purging my room. Throwing some things, giving some things away, and wondering what in the heck I was thinking in keeping some of them.

And as I purge, I've reflected and remembered.

And so, in this month of lasts, I'm going to write and remember and share.