Saturday, May 14, 2005

First Day Off...

Yes, I'll do some grading today, but it's the first day in a long time that I wasn't scheduled to be somewhere! Ryan is in Green Bay for the weekend and while I wanted to go, my parents are busy, and I'm not really up to get back into the car again. (Next weekend Ryan and I are going to Superior for his sister's graduation from grad school.)

A bit of advice for anyone who uses the WECAN program to apply to teaching jobs at schools: Save the additional questions and answers. There are the main questions, there are the twelve additional questions, and for some schools, they have even more questions. For those last questions, you might answer them more then once for different school districts. Save those in a word document or something so you don't have to re-answer them!

Good news from the cohort: Heidi has a job! She will be in Arizona (!!), which is going to be fun for her! That is the 4th person that I know of to officially find a job from the cohort--Mandy had one in the spring, Adrien has one out of the country, Kate as offered one in (Butterfield? It's butter-something... I'm sorry, Kate! I forgot!) a small Minnesota town (she IS the English department for 7-12--GULP!), and now Heidi to Arizona. Keep your fingers crossed for the rest of us. There are about 18 of us left? Regan and Kathy have very good prospects right now, which is great. And Sarah F. had something like three interviews (two?) in a week. Congrats, ladies!

It may be possible for future teachers to read this weblog, and I just want to issue a word of advice--go to all the job fairs offered. Two of my calls for interviews came from resumes I gave them at the job fair and my first interview was done there too. Nothing came from any of them, but it was good practice. You probably won't get your first job that you interview for, and that's common and OK. You get better as you interview (I hope). The questions fit your own philosophy and you begin to figure out the vocabulary for that. Apply as often as possible. Use those websites I posted, and use them often... the jobs start getting posted a lot towards the end of April and especially May. Early May is the "cream of the crop" hire, June is another wave of hiring, and the end of the summer has a good deal of hiring too. (And yes, a lot of this comes from experienced teachers telling me... obviously I haven't the foggiest when hiring is, but judging by the deadlines, that seems about right so far!) It's a tough market, but that toughness apparently comes in waves. Some years are easier then others. When Kim got hired, it was a good year. She's my age, but did this thing in four years at St. Norbert's instead of my round-about way. So she's finishing her second year of teaching. As I'm getting hired (hopefully), it's not exactly the best. I won't get all political here, but gar! I have my opinions.

And today's applications go to:

Minnesota Online High School
LaCrescent Middle School
Waseca High School
Becker High School
Alden Conger High School
Kenwood Academy (Chicago)
Columbia Heights

All lovely schools, so we'll see where it goes.

Like I said before, tomorrow is grading day... I spent today grading, cleaning (!), and reading for pleasure (!!). Amusingly enough, I finished three books, but two were almost done. I finished Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging (a few of my reluctant readers have been reading this one for an extra credit book talk, and I wanted to check it out so I could have a decent conversation with them), Zlata's Diary (mainly, despite the infatuation I have with Anne Frank's diary--which, for those of you who don't know me, quite possibly was the most significant early-reader springboard for my writing career) (but really, I read it because I picked up a copy of The Freedom Writer's Diary at work, and I always need as much background information as possible before diving into any kind of research), and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I'm not putting this one in parenthesis. FABULOUS BOOK! I was reading it mainly because I'm trying to catch up on those canonical texts I should have read by now (of course, everyone's list is huge, but I'm still embarrassed), but also because I was teaching To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm into that whole canon-from-a-young-adult perspective. I want to give my students as many recommended books as possible! It was a really lovely book, and will go on my almost-favorites list (yes, the favorites is a very exclusive list). By my almost-favorites is definitely a recommended list as well--those sets of books are great, in my opinion.

I can't remember if I mentioned this already, but ET, a student in my Journalism class--she was reading The Kite Runner, which will probably go on my almost-favorites list, and I asked her if she liked it. (If I see a book in my students' hands that has nothing to do with my class, I always ask... to show them that I dig their reading, but also to see if I'd like it!! If it's one I have already read, it gives me a conversation with them, which often turns out to really be great.) She did, but she was confused about certain relationships. Luckily, I read it over winter break, so I was able to talk to her about those half-sibling relationships, and I recommended The God of Small Things once she was done with that. She liked it! I think this is the bookseller coming out in me... no, not for the profit part, but the part that absolutely loves when a customer comes in and says, "I need to find this kind of book...." and I find the perfect fit. I love the idea of finding a good fit for my students. Yep, reluctant reader MR (English10) said, "Ms. Sutton, I get so bored when I read books..." and she wrote in her journal that she absolutely loves Angus, Thongs, etc. and how she can't put it down!! Triumph. :) Can I get that with every student? I hope so. I hope to build up to that at some point. I printed out my favorite list for ET, and I will probably print out the Almost-favorites for her as well. She was so excited. She said, "Oh, I have a reading list for the summer!"

I can't wait until I have a permanent school (next year, please next year!). I can see these students on a regular basis and follow up. If it were Roseville next year, I would see ET and ask her how how she enjoyed some of the other books from the list.

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