Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year, New Resolve

So. Yeah. That lasted a long time. I was so diligent for awhile. Well, okay, not for very long at all. But, sadly, that's what happens when your year looks like mine. Let's see. We've missed October, November, and December. Three months. I guess that's not ... that ... much? Hah. The highlights and lowlights:

* We had another current student pass away this year. He was a senior. This time around, it was discovered that it was a latent heart condition; one of those things where their hearts are enlarged and just stop. I remember a fellow freshman Cornellian dying the same way, in his sleep over Fall Break. It's so sad.

* One of my students was diagnosed with lymphoma, and another with something else of which the name escapes me right now... but both of them have been missing for weeks, or in the case of the young lady with lymphoma, months. But since I have her friended on facebook, I get to keep up with her progress.

* The gas issue seems to have been resolved. They did all manner of testing and such and determined that it really was just the release of the gas when the heating/cooling unit kicks on in the morning. ::shrug:: Whatever.

* My AP kids are weirdly needy this year and have sucked up a good portion of my soul with their questions and their panicking. However, unlike how I was in my first few years, I now just look at them with a semi-interested stare and say things like, "No, you don't NEED an A. You WANT an A. Society tells you to WANT an A. But you have to EARN the A."

* We've finally developed a bit of inside-joke cameraderie in my AP classes; I kinda thought this was never going to happen this year. Last year's class was so quick to latch on to something as an inside joke. It's starting, slowly, with these kids. I love them just as much (though I think I'll always have a soft spot for that first group of AP kids) but dangnabit they're needy. So many questions!

* My sophomores are definitely a better crop than I had last year. They're kinda weird and kinda funny, but they're people-pleasers as a group, so when I get upset with them, there's an improvement in their behavior and their work. Last year's group? Pah. Not really. So this year's group is solid. But slipping into bad habits and part of that is my fault, so as second semester approaches next week, I'll be retraining them. Er, reprogramming? Haha. Retraining. We'll stick with that.

* I have graded SO MUCH work that I might need glasses and/or an eyeball transplant. I've killed several red pens. Like, carry the same one around and it runs out of ink by the end of a SINGLE ESSAY assignment. This has never happened to me. It's quite telling, both of how much feedback I'm providing, but even still, when I don't provide that much feedback, I've still actually run pens out of ink on a single set of papers.

* Have dealt with some interesting parent issues this year, from parents that want me to raise their kids for them to parents in denial about what is actually the true issue with their kid. But, weirdly, after blow ups with the parents, I realize that I have a better relationship with their kids; like their kids seem me on their side and not necessarily on the side with their parents. I mean, obviously I'm on the side with the parents when it comes to them being successful, but I'm articulating it and problem-solving it in a way that gives the child value. Two of these students, in particular, have maybe not entirely changed their behavior in terms of producing quality work, but they are much, much happier and engaging in class, and hey, as long as they don't make my job actually harder, I can work with that. One of these students got 100% on her This I Believe essay. I love this kid. She's awesome.

* Had a student faint in class; that was the day we found out about the student who passed away. He died int he morning before school, so it was all a very weird day, especially since we were supposed to be on an assembly schedule, and then we weren't... it was confusing and weird for everyone. But the student fainting was a first. But the kids are so good at my school that they all knew exactly what to do. Before even I could get my wits enough to tell kids what to do, a girl was already sprinting out the door to the health office. All seemed well. I mean, you know, considering. The student has been battling some health issues since last year; I had her as a student in the beginning of the year last year, but they enrolled her at our off-campus site when she was dealing with the majority of her issues. I think they're starting to work themselves out.

* Have been waging a war against the "I'll do it later" and "But I worked on it -- I know it was due nine weeks ago, but can I please turn it in for full credit?" mentality we've created at our school. My last war, which was the week or so before Winter Break, was about Saturday School. ::shaking fist:: I might rant about that in a separate entry. I have neither the strength nor the sticking power tonight to get to it.

I shall also at some point wax poetic about the fail that was Winter Break, given that this year so far has drained every ounce of spirit and happiness from me. Okay, maybe that's being a little drama-queen, but really, Winter Break and the whole holiday season just seemed ... flat. Like watching a 3-D movie without the glasses: you know it always holds potential, but you just lack the tools to enjoy it properly. Everything just felt hurried and harried and harassed and just not fun.

So. I guess that's being caught up. We're about to embark on second semester, so I will attempt to be more diligent in my blogging. I mean, what good is it, really, if I'm not doing it?! And Summer will make me. She's doing her own teaching blog. So if she can do it, I can do it. Huzzah.

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