The fear of standing in front of 34 seniors and/or juniors, five times a day, without a detailed plan remains one of my most frequent nightmares. The anxiety runs deep as this marks the third year I have not returned to the classroom and yet, on occasion the dreams re-visit me.
The kids in our county return to classes tomorrow. Had I remained in the saddle, I would have spent the better part of this day preparing a weekly calendar for each of the five classes. Sometime later this evening, after tuning and re-tuning the week's work, I'd run a transparency for each class and would print out 25 additional paper copies for absentees and for those with IEP's that indicate language processing difficulties (an inability to copy).
Then, I'd prepare my famous SAT vocabulary lists for each class. Students receive the 20 words on each Monday, write them and the definitions five times each for Thursday, and on Friday take a multiple-choice quiz that I make up and print. Anyone getting 100% on the quiz, need not write the words and defs five times each the next week.
In addition, I'd write the actual lesson plans for each day and the goals I hoped to accomplish. Each class would get homework the first night. Seniors would complete their first assignment taking them toward the writing of their college essays. Juniors would be assigned their first assignment in American Lit: trace the genealogy of their families back three generations. I would make modifications for adopted kids, kids not knowing anything about their families, or exchange students. I would compose and distribute grading rubrics for each assignment and a set of two folders for each class: Ungraded Work and Graded Work. As I collect work, I stamp it with a date. As soon as it's graded is recorded, goes into the Graded folder, and then returned to the students.
Then, I'd make a temporary grade book/roll book and seating charts, knowing full well that changes occur up until the third week in September. I keep a separate folder with the names of special needs students, their legal papers telling me what modifications I need to make. My usual load included about 30 of these students out of my 130 total.
Instead of doing all this, however, I edited two reports for my husband, finished a book I was reading, washed my hair. We're headed out to Nick's Fish House in Baltimore for dinner.
- I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.