Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday done. Check and check.

Today began my first full week of school! I know all of you teachers at home hate me that you are well into the school year but next summer I’ll have a very short summer so it is a good trade. I am starting to get the hang of things at my school. Fortunately, my Year 12 group tells me everything I need to do that I’m not doing in terms of organization and that is actually quite helpful. I spent most of Sunday working on my plans for this week. The actual planning doesn’t take me too long, it is the relearning the material I have never taught and creating all of my teaching materials that is taking me forever.

I did get to have a pretty fun weekend. On Friday, I went out for happy hour at 4 with some work colleagues and didn’t get home until after 11. That’s always a pretty good night. After we left the pub, we “went for a curry” as they say here. This was NOT a good plan at 10 pm and between the massive amounts of beer I consumed and the Indian food, Saturday morning was a bit rough! J On Saturday during the day, I went to the mall in a town called Watford with my new friend (who, by the way, is a SKIER!!!)! I got to see all of the super-cute clothes that I cannot afford on my meager teacher salary! Then, on Saturday night, Anna and I had a bbq with the neighboUrs in the backyard. It was fun to sit outside all bundled up swilling wine. It got really cold and last night we even had to turn on the heat! (Really cold is only relative to how it has been- it wasn’t really that cold!)

As of today, I have now met all of my different students. It is going to take me quite awhile to get their names memorized- that is for sure. I think in total, I see about 200 different kids per week. Fortunately, their day planners have a little white board in the back so they are able to write their name and prop it up so that I can just read their names. Phew. I have been teaching the highest level of kids in “chemistry.” I say “chemistry” because really it is a collection of random facts that are randomly related to chemistry. The unit is called Products from Rocks and it is SO incredibly boring! I am working really really hard to make it engaging but it is a struggle!

However, today, my Head of Science suggested that perhaps I switch with her and take the lowest group because they move more slowly and won’t need to know this random chemistry stuff that I know JACK about in the same depth as the higher kids. So, I think I will do this switch. With the lower kids I am able to have more freedom in how I structure the unit. So, I have made up a long-term project for them where they will have to design certain structures in a town and choose which “products from rocks” they use to design these based on characteristics that they will research. We’ll see how it goes. This will be something that they have never done before as the curriculum is generally so prescribed that they aren’t able to have projects like this. Yay for Understanding by Design!

So far, it seems that the kids have responded well to “The One Rule” and “Living Above the Line.” Not surprisingly, the Year 7-9 kids have been excited when brainstorming all the ways that they can think of to break the rules. I always get some answers like “throw desks out the window,” “set the school on fire.” I just let them say stuff like that as long as we eventually get the realistic ways of not following “The One Rule” on the list like being disrespectful, not raising your hand, or not doing work. So far, the kids here seem just like the kids at home, they just wear a uniform. J I have been extra careful to go over expectations and make lots of “Looks like/Sounds Like” charts whenever we do something new like group work, etc.

Anyway, enough teacher talk. But, that is pretty much my whole life at the moment since I only have two friends! J I really like the people in my department and have enjoyed lunch with them everyday! I am going to be so fried after five days this week. It will take awhile to get used to the random schedule I have. I had Year 8 kids three times today and then I only see them once more this week.

I would like to share a website that someone here shared with me, it is hilarious and totally inappropriate. Don’t read it if you think you might be easily offended by vulgarity. But, it is so close to Jack Handey’s Deep Thoughts that I have to share it.

Hilarious and a delightful time waster. Just keep clicking “more top tips” and they just keep on coming.

Hasta lasagna!

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