About Me

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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.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Planning, Planning, and More Planning

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.

15 comments:

Purple Flowers said...

WOW - what an excellent Teacher you must have been! I learned most from Teachers like you.And alot of it stuck. :)

Jay said...

You did more on the night before the first day of class than most of my teachers did all year long.

Did you use any words from the Urban Dictionary for those vocabulary tests? LOL ;-)

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

You'll probably have those nightmares the rest of your life.

I'm very impressed by what you did as preparation.

Lena said...

Wow, what preparation! I used to dream that I could not get my locker open for years after I graduated high school. Hopefully, your dream will fade as the years go by.

jane said...

wow! sounds like you were a wonderful teacher. i´m kind of wishing i could have been one of your students... i guess washing your hair now takes on a whole new meaning. Thanks for all your fun comments. you had me laughing all month. sending you a big hug! jane

Kell said...

I wish you had been here when I was teaching my first classes. I might have stuck with it.

Does your husband use your edits? Mine asks for me to help, then ignores what I tell him. Silly guy.

Amy said...

Maybe you should offer a class to new teachers on how to prepare for the first day of school, the first week, month, year etc. I know you were and are a fantastic teacher. But you must have been exhausted half way through the school year. 130 students is a lot of students! And they were lucky to have you as a teacher.
Amy

Kimberly said...

She was one of my teachers! But in Jr. High. And yes, she was great! My oldest is now a teacher - second year middle school special ed, all the modifications are mind-boggling. Enjoy your dinner!

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

We need many more teachers like you. I can tell you were a very well prepared and caring teacher. Your students were lucky to have you and I'm sure you were a positive influence on many lives.

Palm Springs Savant said...

kathy- I think you should give US the SAT word quiz here on your blog!

Kathy said...

Wouldn't that be funny?

Brad said...

I really like PSS's idea - you should do it!

I get the feeling that you miss teaching more then you let on. I think it would be hard not to, memeory being what it is.

Cheryl said...

I choose the retirement path. I was exhausted just reading what you had to do.

Seth M. Ward said...

lol I don't know how you do it!?! I could never be a teacher. I would be droppin the F bomb WAY to much! lol Be good to yourself!

Becky Mushko said...

This is what I don't miss about being a teacher. I've been retired for 12 years now. Well, retired from full-time taeaching.