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a little lost
thursday, november 3, 2005

i've been a bit bewildered with this high school thing. i've never taught literature, i'm not even sure how to teach literature despite the number of lit analyses classes i've had, and there's a lot of hand holding even in high school. add to this that we're teaching "the odyssey" right now - an epic i never was submitted to, and, yea, i'm a lot more unsure of how i'm supposed to do things than usual. fortunately, the staff here is very good and very attentive to the constant harass . . . er, questions of a needy teacher, so i'm sorta getting my feet under me. doing a lot of checking on what i have planned, but generally moving forwards.

at least when i don't have a migraine like i did yesterday. migraines tend to make me stupider than usual and i think yesterday was no exception. i think i should be thankful for being present at all and forgive myself the lack of mental alertness.

i'm not completely sure what to think about the kids in the class. a few of them are quite nice - and one of them was even happy to see me, amazingly enough, but a lot of them just amaze me with their . . . i'd say lack of intelligence, but that's not it. they're smart, most of them, they just aren't using what they got! (for example, we've only been talking about taking this test today ALL WEEK and i still had people looking at me and going, "test? we're taking a test?" really, the lack of effort is appalling.)

and in terms of behavior, i'm really beginning to think 8th and 9th graders need their own schools. yes, being here is reaffirming that i would sooooo rather teach 6th or 7th grades - which makes taking the pII for high school even less appealing even if it becomes necessary.

on the up side of things, i have network status this time around and am getting quite an on the job crash course education in teaching. the rough end of things is the transition in general. the teacher will be coming back, so i can't just drop 90% of her assignments out of the grade book but i, apparently, tend to grade harder. i'm not too concerned - 2 of the classes are honors and college prep - but it does make for a bit of a bump on their part - especially after the semi-chaos of the first 2 weeks of their regular teacher's absence.

in a small way, i feel sorry for them. they've had a variety of subs over the 2 weeks before i was put in full time. at least one of those subs was of the worst sort - he slept during class and let the kids do what they wanted. and i ended up with a pile of things not only to grade but to sort because of the mess that at least 1 sub left behind. then there's the below grade level kids in the tech class who managed to convince subs and teachers they had done their reading for the week, putting themselves behind at least one week in what they're supposed to be doing. i had to go back through the teacher's lesson plans to figure out what they had missed so i could schedule it for next week.

another bit of good is the limited net access. i can't get on i.m. (i suspect the district wouldn't be too happy if i downloaded msn onto the county owned laptop) and the silly thing doesn't appear to have a floppy drive (which makes working on writing a difficult prospect at best), but i can write journal entries in text files to email to myself for later posting, visit all my reads except those on lj, and keep in touch with my boards - all of which is done during breaks, of course.

the network access has me a little bewildered as well. i don't know how teachers remember everything. attendance is in one program, grades in another, but excused absences gives kids extra time before the grade is reduced. the two programs being in separate places means i have to remember to check on who has excused absences or not at some point during the day. there's so much to do and keep track of in a day, it's a miracle i remember anything, much less to check excused absences to place in the grade book.

heck, i forgot to pick up progress reports to pass out today. *sigh*

so, i'm pretty much trying to wade through an overflow of information - what to do, how to do it, and using which program or person to get it done - plus trying to figure out how to teach stuff i've never had to each and never had training on how to teach, never even had to figure out how to break up to teach! it's a bit overwhelming and i'm waiting to make a HUGE mistake that will get me fired or something. (the good news is that so far i've managed to give something of a good impression by my go in and just do it attitude - just walked in and took over.)

really, it's no wonder i'm lost. but if big, unseen creatures start shaking the trees, i'm outta here - hobbits or not!

word of the moment: phlegmatic

stolidly calm, unexcitable; unemotional; having or showing a slow and stolid temperament

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