How Was It For You?

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • Aug
  • 29
  • 2007

Day one, so much possibility and educational energy. Now it’s over. This is as anticlimactic as the day after your birthday.

Some Questions

What went well? Did you do anything this year that you keep telling yourself you should do?

Working with songs in English 3 gave a nice way to start discussing how to use text to prove a point. I think it interested some kids and I heard a lot of voices from most classes. We’ll revisit that work tomorrow and discuss the contrasting tone of each of the two songs we worked with. This means we dealt with rudimentary literary interpretation on the first day and I always tell myself to dive right in from day one. We worked right up to the bell and I’m happy about that.

Did you start off with the right tone? Is there anything you’re not happy with? Did you do that thing again that you keep telling yourself not to do?

Speech went terribly. I do a breathe and scan exercise that just about everyone delivered a lackluster performance on. A lot of students in the class do not appear willing to even give things a good try, but that could have just been because it was an 8:13 class on the first day of school. Their first speech is in their hands right now. We’ll get into the communication model tomorrow and I’m planning a slide show to make that a touch more interesting. I still hold hope. And if I can manage to punch holes in handouts before class, I won’t waste time doing it during our short time together. That cost me dearly in sixth period today.

How are your classes looking, just from your brief introduction?

My Speech students strike me as hesitant to do any work, while my English 3s seem chomping at the bit. Speech was the quietest all day, ironically enough. At my school, Speech and Creative Writing are full of seniors who need English credit, not students who elected to be in the course out of personal interest. They are good kids, but by definition they have had trouble with school somewhere in the past and it is often chronic. That said, I really do feel positive overall.

A Short-Term Goal

No conflicts the first week. No matter what, no negative interaction. Find a way to smile at the insult and make students feel like there’s nothing they can do to upset you. Those kids who sit in the back all period and watch the clock? Smile at them. Let them know that there is business to take care of. Get their attention, smile at them, then mime that they should be writing/reading/thinking/talking, but don’t bring the hammer down. Yet. And when you do, do it in private before class or after class. “I need you involved in this class and working on the assignments I give you, not watching the clock. What can we do to make this happen? What can I do to help you be successful here?”

Well, what about you?


1. Damian Bariexca says:

[8/29/2007 - 2:11 pm]

Thanks for the shout-out, Todd – that was my song activity you used! Glad it came in handy for you (my sophomores usually like it, too). I do it for exactly the same reason you describe – gets their hands dirty with literary analysis, however basic, right from the giddy-up, and helps set a work-focused tone.

I don’t go back to school for another week, but I’ll be sure to answer your questions when I do. Don’t despair yet – I had a group last year that sounds much like your Speech & Creative Writing kids, and they ended up being a pretty good group overall.

2. Rick says:

[9/9/2007 - 8:09 am]

Yikes, I’m a little late on this one. We’ve had a good start to our year, although we’ve had several major behavior issues with our very young kids quite early this year. About 5 of them are taking up the majority of my time right now. That said, we have an outstanding, positive staff at our school, and I think we’re going to have a great year.

3. My First Week at School, by Damian, age 6 : Apace of Change says:

[9/13/2007 - 6:37 pm]

[…] Many moons ago, Todd asked, “How Was It For You?” Since he started about a week ahead of me, I couldn’t respond at the moment, but in the spirit of reflective teaching, I’ll now answer the same questions he asked himself. […]

4. Reflections on my first week back at school at says:

[9/17/2007 - 1:01 pm]

[…] Damian Bariexca has challenged me to reflect on my first week of teaching. It’s actually been a week and a half, but I’ll ignore that. As someone who’s always in favour of a spot of reflection, I’ll take up the challenge and keep the questions as the same as Damian used from Todd’s original post. […]