Sunday, April 10, 2005

Easing In

This upcoming week is going to be particularly difficult for me... Of course, the English 10's are watching a good deal of videos (the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird and an informational PBS film on the Scopes Monkey Trial). That's four days of videos in one week... woo hoo. :) (I'm a bad teacher, huh?) And I have a video for my Journalism class too on Clinton's last press secretary and the relationship with the press corps (I thought it would be fun since we do press conferences every week).

So maybe it's not the classroom time.

It's more along the lines of the preparation for the weekend. Friday there's the Pops concert at RAHS, and I would like to go. If it would end there, I would be eternally pleased. But nope. Saturday morning I have a International Reading Association Plains Area Regional Conference preparation session... I signed up to look over project proposals for the conference. Mostly I want to get an idea of what it's like to be a part of a professional organization, but it's also to look good on the resume. :) At 2:30, I have the last Praxis test--the pedagogy one, which is supposed to be the roughest. (Tammy, a member of the cohort, organized a study session tomorrow. I have to remember to turn in my credential file application on my way in... arg. So much paperwork.) I work from 1:30-10:00 on Sunday night (poor Ryan... not much of a visit for him). And MONDAY IS THE ABSOLUTE SCARIEST. Because it's the Job Fair. That means I have to send out resumes, applications, cover letters like mad... And I haven't done as much of that work as I have wanted to!

I did get through a lot of grading this weekend. My best friend Kelly even went through 29 crossword puzzles. She started out saying, "Oh, they left a blank one for me to figure out! Can I do it?" And I said sure, but she might not want to... yup, by number twenty-nine, she never wanted to see another one of those vocabulary words again. I said, "Now you can appreciate your former teachers more." She told me, "I just feel sorry for you!" That works too--haha. I still have to finish grading the TKAM tests (I have about half left), the Journalism class tests (the non-multiple choice part is still left) and the reviews from my Journalism class. Not bad... I went through a phenomenal amount of stuff and moved it from the in-box to the out-box.

But all that grading with little breaks left me a little wonky, and I feel badly that Kelly came from the Twin Cities to Winona to visit me and Ryan, and I was pretty neglectful of both of them. I wish I could make it up to both of them next weekend, but (Kelly will be out of town and) it's that nasty weekend. So I am going to have to come up with something fun to do the following weekend. Maybe a little surprise date--a thank you for being so patient to me (and listening to me have mini-nervous breakdowns, which is always fun). I began a few online applications... I think what I need to do is sit still and get through one at a time. Make a checklist and not move until one is checked off, then try another.

I did set a new rule for myself, which I will only be strict about sticking to for this week when I have to fill out applications, etc. so much. I will only grade at school--so now that I just finished their journals, any work that they turn in, I have to grade those tests and reviews during Amy's classes or during the prep period (or before/after school). Any work for school done at home has to be preparation for the next day or the rest of the week/unit/month, but mostly I want to make sure I'm doing job stuff. Ryan asked me, "What is the most important right now? What is first?" Well, most important--all of it--but most urgent would be this job thing, especially with application deadlines on Friday. I could even tell my students that--I'm sorry if I don't get things back to you after this massive returning of assignments, but I've got some pretty serious deadlines of my own coming up.

This isn't to mention the project proposal class I am taking that I have completely neglected.

So I finished reading journals tonight. One was especially disappointing--I found a note she had written to her friend and she called the English class "lame," though not in so many kind words. It stung a little, and I paused before reading her journals. This is the chatty girl who gave me a reason to change the seating chart, and quick. Hers is a complicated situation... KK has been sporadically absent, and she told me the other day that she is going on Homebound, which is usually due to medical issues. I e-mailed the counselor and nurse and asked if they knew anything about this, and they responded that she wasn't, but I could continue to expect her to miss classes and assignments and such. I'll have to e-mail back and ask about that; I guess this isn't the first time she's had trouble in a class. She wrote a little bit about how she's depressed and has been trying to keep up (yes, I am skeptical). I wrote back that I understood that she's been having a tough time and that this unit was pretty rough with reading at home, etc., and I assured her that the units would be a bit easier (thank goodness!) and I would give her some extra time on those missing assignments and if she needed anything, that she should feel free to talk to me about it. Instead of being defensive towards her, I decided to react in kindness. Who knows if it will work or not, but it made me feel a lot better. Still bummed about the lame comment (but she seems to not like school in general). On the other hand, I also had a nice entry with one girl who is a big reader... we've been writing notes back and forth about book recommendations and such, and she gave me one and said which books she likes, etc.

It's interesting now that the unit is coming to a close, looking back on everyone's work... one student has turned almost nothing in. There are a few that are missing a good deal. I guess once the test is graded and the final projects are in, I'll have to do some calls to parents. I want to do some positive ones too, to balance it all out!

OK, off to bed I go...

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