Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finals, Day 2

Remember how I said yesterday that I was planning to be super productive on my prep period this morning? Go ahead, go re-read yesterday's post. I'll wait. ::leans back and eats another brownie:: See that?

Yeah, that didn't happen. So, hmmm, let's see. I had to go retrieve some Scantrons from one of my English colleagues because I thought she was going to be the Captain of the Scantron to make sure they were being doled out appropriately; little did I know that my trip across campus and up to the second floor of our enormous N-building complex was sorta for naught because there were, in fact, Scantrons in the English supply closet ... that is around the corner from my classroom. ::facepalm:: I'm sure the walk did me good, though. And I still got Scantrons for my test. Win? I guess? Then, I checked my mailbox in the staff lounge and found the CPS form our student services guru left for me. Le sigh.

See, teachers are mandated reporters. Meaning that if I have an inkling about child abuse or neglect, I am legally obligated to report it. That's all.

Moving on to better things. Er, maybe not better. Yeah, I definitely didn't get much done. I did get my finals together, got them ordered by number, made the ten extra copies I needed to accommodate for the forty students who needed to take it (I think my class set was 30 ... :( ), made a new key because there are new questions, and wrote instructions on my white board for them. Then, I sorta-kinda sorted some of my mess on my desk, had breakfast, and suddenly it was time to greet the kids and get them started on their finals. While they finalled, I tried to lesson plan -- I got some done, but I'm basically starting to rethink all of it now. Heh. I always do this to myself. But I'm sure it will ultimately be fine. I just ... need to talk myself down off of a ledge where I try to do TOO MUCH IN TOO LITTLE TIME. I have this problem a lot. But I dislike mightily the idea of students just malingering in their seats. Anyway, I created some new materials for the Shakespeare unit, reviewed some of my assessment materials for that, began a four week unit calendar for the Shakespeare unit, and printed things out to photocopy this weekend before the new semester starts on Tuesday. I have a feeling on my Monday holiday day off, I'll be zinging copies away like I did early in the first semester. Hundreds and hundreds!

After school, we had a little going away party for one of our assistant principals, who just recently found out he's being transferred to another high school in our district. It's great for them and sucks for us. He's amazing. Really and truly. He's what holds our school together. He's organized, nice, always in a good mood, smart, hard working ... everything you hope for in an AP. Beth is replacing him, and I love her -- she was an AP for two years before stepping down into teaching this first semester, but she's going back into admin because they need her. And I love working with her, and she'll be taking over the job of department admin for my department again, so that's a bonus for me. But I love Dave. And Dave does our master schedule... this could be baaaad.

Then, I helped another colleague find some colored paper in the English paper cabinets because, you know, I am the Keeper of the Keys in the English department. And as soon as I knew it, it was time to flee campus for my gym appointment.

And now, it's 27 minutes past my 9:00 pm bedtime I set for myself this morning when I woke up so insanely tired, and I'm still awake because I just got home for the night.

Also, because I want this blog post to end on a possibly-more-positive note. About my kids. Because, after all, they're why I do this.

My students are awesome because ...

... they want to do a flash mob dance in the quad to this ... Which I think means I'm going to have to start learning it...

... they found genuine joy in watching Despicable Me the other day. I love the sound of a room full of teenagers laughing at something cute and innocent, and not a Internet Fail Friday fail of humanity. I like when they laugh at cartoons. At cute things. At the goodness and pureness in the world, rather than the insane and stupid. I love them.

... they ply me with treats in an attempt to butter me up for some reason or another. It doesn't work, because I'm mean, but it keeps me fed nonetheless.

... they make funny faces at me in the hallways and/or absolutely freak out when they happen to see me in the quad or walking by a classroom they're in. And they get SUPER excited when I make a funny face or wave back. Teachers have an incredible amount of sway over how a kid's moment-to-moment life goes; that is, a simple wave or smile or acknowledgement goes a long way with pretty much all kids.

... they indulge me when I'm being silly. Since I don't get mad really easily (okay, MAYBE that's a lie. I don't get mad at my students easily...), sometimes I'm just irritated or annoyed at them, especially when they don't get quiet. But as I learned from my super amazingsauce methods instructor at UCSD, you never waste your voice and energy on quieting your kids down. I have absolutely mastered the art of the quiet, slightly impatient stare. It's brilliant. But sometimes, when I'm not really mad, but wanting to just move on, I'll add something silly that the students inevitably follow. Such as putting my finger to my nose, Nose Goes style, and waiting for everyone to freak out and catch on. Patting my head until they all are doing it. Monday, I made moose antlers with my hands and waiting until the WHOLE class -- and I mean the WHOLE class, even Cool Hipster Kid in the back of the room and Aloof Smart Kid in the front of the room -- had moose antlers with their hands. Then I made them wiggle them. First the right hand. Then the left hand. A moment of silly in a fairly stressful day otherwise, but they do indulge me. And they're happy to play along, because they've now had a break, they can refocus, and they're paying attention. (Mostly.)

So that's that for tonight. Maybe tomorrow, as an homage to the end of finals, I'll share the wit and wisdom of our current junior class about their understanding of American Literature. Or perhaps my students' beliefs. They were pretty good.

And now? Bed. 39 minutes late. Give or take the shower.

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