Thursday, August 29, 2013

Meetings Meetings Meetings... Good things to come!

Dear Dialog,

The beginning of this year has been meetings, meetings, meetings... BUT, the good thing about these meetings is that we as a school are so much more prepared for the first couple of weeks of school and the policies and procedures that we plan to have for the entire school year than years previously. We are being held to a higher standard and more accountable but we are also pushing for a new model and one that I truly believe will be more successful.

This year, I for the most part, will be teaching the following classes:
Academic Lab: A class for students who have not met the OAKS Reading, Writing and/or Math requirements set forth by the state of Oregon. Students are scheduled into this class for periods 1-4, but will move to another class during Periods 2-4 if they need a higher level class. I will primarily be working with mid to high level students, meaning they are really really close to passing the OAKs exams. I will be helping them push through that last hurdle.

4th Period, United States History: I have not really taught a full on US History class in a bit so it will be interesting. I plan on having students start with Native American History, we are going to read a chapter from Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen called "Red Eyes". It discusses historical perceptions about Native American Tribes and how Native American History has been taught since Kindergarten. It is definitely a real eye opener. We will then continue on to the Colonial Period and end with the formation of the Constitution. This curriculum aligns up with the Local Community College and I am excited to have students read something that is not in a text book.

5th Period, Economics: I am upping the ante on my Econ kids this year. Instead of 12 weeks, this will be an 18 week course (so a trimester and a half). They will have to create work portfolios, create KBATs, do Quick Writes, Journal Entries and only be able to use an Index Card on exams. We are really going to exam study techniques. One fun thing I am going to have them do though is to Fix the Federal Budget. This will be their final exam after we discusses taxes and tax laws.

6th Period, Government: I am also upping the ante on my Government kids. They are going to have ample homework (although if they use their time wisely in class, their homework will be limited). We are really going to focus in on the formation of the US government, but also compare and contrast it to other nations. The last 8 weeks of the class or so, will all be current event and debates which I am really looking forward too.
7th Period, Girl's PE: This is definitely going to be my most interesting class. I have lots of work out created and just purchased T25. There is definitely an eclectic group of girls in there so we will see how the year progresses as they will be enrolled in it all year.

Well, that is all for tonight. One more day of meetings and prep and then a wonderful three day weekend! Classes start Tuesday so I will have much to report back then!

Till Tuesday!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

And the 2013-2014 School Year Begins!

Dear Dialog,

Tomorrow is the first day of in-service for us teachers here in Oregon. This means that my room is almost done being set up; I have been lesson planning like crazy; getting in touch with colleges with the best help of my colleague and friend, Kelly; I have five straight days of meetings; and I am one year closer to actually knowing what I am doing in my room! 

Year three tends to be a turning point for many educators. Many new teachers, do not make it past year three because of the bureaucracy, teens who think they know everything, parents who could be either over baring or totally uninvolved and because they are just not able to financially make it due to the SEVERELY low pay despite having a MASTERS degree. I hope that I am able to make it past year three and will continue teaching. While I am learning to work around the bureaucracy of education and the horrible and outdated laws that control us teachers, the teens who are learning that they might not know everything, being able to have parents take me seriously (even though for some of them, I am old enough to be a daughter or a sister) and almost debt free allowing me to actually live comfortably on a teacher's salary, I know that there is so much more that I cannot plan for and hope to make it past this last trial year. 

Lastly, many in education say that by the end of your third year, you actually know what you are doing. Your first year, you are a hard ass, over plan and micro manage. Your second year, you are a softie and become MUCH more flexible in your planning. By the end of the third year, you have your classroom management style down, have really started creating, if not already have a repoire with your kids, and know what you are going to be teaching (for the most part)

School starts officially on September 3rd and I have to say that I am excited for it. This summer has been one for the record books. The boy and I moved into a wonderful house. We got a second four legged family member, a German Shepherd/Alaskan Malamute/Lab mix named Kai who is oh so cuddly and thinks she is a human!, and we celebrated five wonderful years together. 
She naps like this but... 

                                          She sleeps like this!
Well it is time to sign off and get my last, good nights sleep before the meetings, hours of grading and sleepless nights due to planning begin... 

Get ready for lots of posts this year! There are so many exciting events to come!