The last couple of years have been hard for me. I keep on pushing my kids yet always feel inferior to what I could be doing; I keep working more and yet feel bad for how much I'm not working. I even slowed down on reading other math edublogs because the discrepancy between what they were doing in classrooms and what I was doing in my classroom ("Clear the screen with 2nd Quit. No, you don't have to hold down both buttoms at once.") started to pull me down more than motivate me.
Last summer was the very first in which I did not making major plans and changes over the summer. Instead I moved from the West Coast to the East Coast. I exchanged a population of 91% Hispanic students to 50% white 50% black - not better or worse, just different. I exchanged parents that can't be contacted or communicated with, to parents that take everything their kids say to heart ("Bobby says you favor the black kids! And he doesn't lie!") I exchanged a good department for a great department - some things got much better! I exchanged kids that can't add or subtract with..kids that can't add or subtract. Some things never change.
I also applied to grad school, and hopefully will get in. This may be my last year in the classroom and I have such a feeling of mixed excitement and sadness. There is so much to do in the classroom that I feel I have not yet mastered.
Hopefully, the National Board process I have begun will help me to wring the most out of these last 6 months. I have heard others say that it has rejuvenated them as teachers, and I feel like I need that. I know I do good things in my classroom, and I know I go beyond the minimum to do a lot of extra that others don't do.
Today I'm planning several things for the short 3-day week ahead of me.
1) I'm going to use Wednesday and Thursday to review what we did right before the break. Then Friday we'll have out typical SBG skill quizzes.
Geometry: Review Congruence Theorems and Congruence Proofs. Take quiz Fri.
Algebra: Review finding slope 3 ways (from points, graph, and equation) and graphing 3 ways (from slope-intercept form, table, and intercepts). REtake quizzes Fri.
2) My classroom walls are almost bare! Its never been like this before. I need to put things up that I brought from my old school, and also 3 new things: a shiny Order of Operations 3D hanging, 10 "Good Questions" posters I made, and 3 giant tables to track each kid on every skill (identified by a secret code word).
3) I need to organize my parent contact logs and start something new I decided to do this semester: regular bimonthly contacts for every single child's guardian, hopefully by email. I want to communicate the following things: MOST important, attitude and motivation, then academic struggles, then behavior problems.
After that, I need to immediately get started with my portfolio entries.