Woes of a Teacher Work Room
Posted by newbie-tchr at 8:00 pm in 1

(I think it’s safe to say there’s a generation gap there)

At the last school I was at, there was a really  young faculty. I mean really young – the average teacher at that High school was around 27 years old. Even though I really like everyone I’m working with, the first thing I noticed was the huge change in age differences. Teaching in a suburban area with not many colleges around means that theirs definitely less rotation of teachers, and the average age of the faculty is probably closer to 41.

It’s not bad at all, but it is a little bit of a culture shock. At the last school, all of the teachers would get together and talk about our weekends, swap dating stories – and nothing off limits. At my new school – lunch room conversation has been relegated to potty training, gardening techniques, and the more than occasional gripe about students. I’ve been trying to keep it to myself all month, but I won’t lie – I hate hearing about potty training, diapers, dr’s appointments for kids, etc. Not to mention the negativity I hear vented in there about students/parents, etc. I miss the days where I went in to the teacher work room and felt like I was escaping the stresses of a bad day, and walked out feeling ten times better.

What’s funny is that I’ve slowly migrated through the teacher work room to sitting towards the younger teachers, or the male teachers. Simply because they’re the only ones who have conversations that don’t involve adolescents or things that I won’t experience in another 20 years. Today, I had a 20 minute conversation about Jon Stewart with some older male teachers, and it was the first time in two weeks that I didn’t walk out of the work room thinking “I’m so glad I don’t have kids.”  I won’t lie – it felt amazing.

I don’t mean to complain about the age gap, it’s really not bad normally. It’s actually been awesome hearing some of the stories that the more experienced teachers have the share, not to mention that without their help the past few weeks my classroom would have exploded. But sometimes, I do wish there was a rule in the lunchroom limiting how much time gets spent on conversations either being really negative or about things so unthrilling as “potty presents.”

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Long term subbing is long term exhausting
Posted by newbie-tchr at 4:39 pm in 1

 As apparent by my absence the past 2-3 weeks, I’ve been CRAZY busy with teaching 7th grade US hist. It’s awesome, but I won’t lie – coming in at the end of the year leaves a lot of things to learn and quickly catch up on. In the past few weeks I’ve had to go through training on all kinds of tech/daily routine stuff, learn 135 names in 2 days, lesson plan, grade, lesson plan – and did I say grade?

I’m hoping that in the next few weeks I get into a groove, and get used to the schedule and learn to work quicker on things that need to be done. Fantastic help though – this school has “copy moms” who come in and make all your copies you need, twice a week, and it saves SO much time. Definitely an incentive to plan ahead…which I still don’t do often enough.

The biggest transition so far is getting used to how much more involved these parents are, and the bigger load of busy work middle schoolers are given. And by busy work, I mean worksheets that I would normally never grade with 12th graders- but are expected to be graded at this age group. I get their value to some extent, they just take up soooo much time!

Besides the busy work issues – the kids are great. I have 3 G/T classes, and 2 lower level classes, one of which has an instructional assistant because of IEP requirements. The kids are great – per usual, the lower level kids are my favorite, they’re just so much more fun in my opinion. The IA is nice in regards to having someone there to help with little tasks like passing out papers, or helping my more unfocused kids stay on task, but it is a bit weird having another adult in there while you teach. Still getting used to the idea of being observed by a peer I guess. But it is fantastic, and I’m hopeful that in the coming days I’ll have more to share about technology & other issues I come to face in the classroom!

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“I can’t believe I just got pwned”
Posted by newbie-tchr at 2:50 pm in 1

One week down & I still love it. The first day I spent getting to know the kids, and the rest have been spent combining that AND trying to teach our new unit on WWII. The teacher and then long-term sub before me weren’t big on technology & while I haven’t used much, (in my book) the kids are in shock at the difference between me and them. I thought I’d share some of my favorite tools from this week in case anyone was looking for new ideas!

1. Online Stopwatch – my savior. One of my many problems is that I’m constantly running out of time & am horrible at reminding the kids to pace them selves. Enter this site – all I have to do is project a running stopwatch that counts down the minutes the kids have left on an assignment. This week I used  it to pace kids during a jigsaw activity and it worked perfectly!

2. Pandora – I know this isn’t a new site at all, but I think I use just as much at work as I do in my personal life. I’ll avoid the commercial for what I think is one of the best music sites EVER & just explain how I use this in my classroom. As a rule, music is one of my favorite behavior management techniques. Anytime there’s small group work, or an activity that’s more hands on, I play (calmish) music in the background. The kids all know my rule – as long as I can hear my music, you may talk. But the instant I can’t hear my Jack Johnson station – talking privileges are gone. It’s hilarious if you ever want to hear kids shush each other and say the words “I can’t hear Rob Thomas guys, we should really be quieter.”

3. Sporcle – Again, not a new site, but that doesn’t mean we should forget how awesome it is. What I like about Sporcle are all the quizzes they have on school appropriate, content-related, topics.  I’m making my kids take a map quiz of Europe during the WWII unit, and Sporcle is a great way to have them practice in and out of class. All I do is project it, or have students work on it in pairs and see who can answer the quiz the quickest. The kids love it, and during chill days I’ll sometimes reward them with quizzes on non-school subjects, like NFL teams, or Harry Potter. And the title of this blog post does come from a sporcle match. A child challenged me to a Harry Potter quiz-off, and after being dominated I heard him tell his friend “I can’t believe I just got pwned by Ms. B.” Haha, sorry kids.

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And we’re off!
Posted by newbie-tchr at 11:16 pm in Firsts, GREAT day!, subbing

Very excited – longterm subbing has officially begun! Today was day two – I was going to update this yesterday, but here’s a shocker: I was EXHAUSTED. Immediate thoughts from only 2 days in the field:

1. Why am I so hungry all the time now?

2. I would not be opposed to going to bed at 8pm for the next few days.

3. I love middle schoolers…they’re both funny to work with and sometimes surprisingly sweet.

4. Someone should seriously consider putting an IV drip of caffeine in my classroom so I have constant access.

5. Huge gaps between sone of my classes…this might be the year I dominate differentiation. As though student teaching wasn’t practice enough.

I’m planning on fleshing my thoughts out more as the week goes on, but I can honestly say that I am so excited to be teaching (finally) and really do love it so far.  Right now I’m in the beginning of a unit on WWII, so in addition to my rantings/questions, I’ll try to share any cool resources I come across!

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