Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Check out what I'm up to at work

If you're ever bored or a teacher looking for new ideas, check out my teaching blog at:


For each day I teach, I write a short summary of the lesson and provide links to documents and handouts. I created this site to help students who are absent or behind on their work. They can access it from any location and print out the materials they need. It's pretty neat, and pretty simple, but you'd be surprised how few teachers actually do stuff like this.


Congratulations to me (ooh, it hurts these days to pat my own back) for making it through my first month as a public school teacher. The 10-12 hour days are not dragging me down too much, though I've learned the value of going to bed early.

Some days I come home stressed out and at wit's end. Most days, I'm glad to report, are full of joy and exaltation. I'm one of those lucky few Americans who loves their job and looks forward to going to work each day. Truth is, I don't have much of a life outside of teaching, but that's okay. My colleagues and family provide enough companionship. If I had a pet, it would be lonely. My plants are barely making it.

Here's a short, funny story that shows how learning expectations have changed over time. One of my biggest discoveries has been that freshman students DO NOT DO HOMEWORK!

I had them do an art project in class last Thursday, a Concrete Poem, culling together supplies from various personal supplies, and borrowing more from others. And despite my constant haranguing and imperious mingling, many students chose to use the in-class work time to fart around. This was a mistake on my part because I capitulated and said they could turn in their finished work the next day.

But I made a prediction. I said, considering recent trends, that less than 2/3 of the class will turn in their homework on time. I told them, if I am wrong, I will give everyone in the class candy. Friday, first hour, I asked for the concrete poems first thing. As they were taking a grammar test, I checked off names on a list. After the test, I made an announcement that they were three short of making the 2/3 necessary to get the candy. Suddenly, four of my more dilatory students, severe sufferers of HUA syndrome (say this like Al Pacino's character in Scent of a Woman), turned in their work. They made the 2/3 completion goal by one student.

Unfortunately, my other two classes weren't even close. But that's okay. Fewer papers to grade and more candy for me.

Quote of the month: "You can lead a HUA to water, but you can't make him or her think."

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