The freshmen and seniors had a late start, meaning their routine was thrown off. Many students didn’t show up. Many came in restless, excited and distracted. They found it difficult to concentrate with class periods that were half the time they were used to and teachers found it difficult to make productive and meaningful learning happen. Now that it’s getting cold, students are showing up later or not at all, as many of them half to walk a mile or more to school.
Three of my students were suspended for threatening extreme violence on another one of my students. We had to have another parent meeting (about the 3rd one with this parent) for one of our students who is never engaged, never doing his work and ended up getting very angry and verbally aggressive with my classroom mentor.
It was a very hard week. This long weekend was very necessary for my health. Not all days can be good. I guarantee you if you go into education, you will have plenty of bad days. But not all weeks are hard. Some are really invigorating and inspiring. But sometimes, the reality is, the work I do is really hard. If you don’t already, practice self-care and do so intentionally. You will need it to get through this program.
But I won’t allow this blog post to be all bad! My class is almost done reading “The Odyssey” and in February, we’ll move onto reading novels! Students will have a choice of novel, and I know Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” will be on the list. I’m so excited to teach it!
And speaking of novels, this weekend I went to an absolutely amazing workshop at Penn GSE. Facing History is an educational organization that develops resources and curriculum for humanities classrooms that take on prejudices and injustice in American and European societies. The best way I can explain what they do is that they make sure to include all voices and perspectives in historical events that may have been previously whitewashed in education. We met with an amazing facilitator from Facing History to have a workshop on teaching Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Not only are there so many amazing materials provided for us now on this novel, but we were exposed to different teaching techniques, websites, videos and other mediums and ideas to bring into the classroom. We had so many amazing conversations about inequity, poverty, racism, prejudicism, literature and education. It was a really refreshing way to spend my Saturday, especially after I was left feeling a little discouraged and overwhelmed.
The workshop reminded me of all the amazing things I have done and will continue to do with my students. It reminded me of how capable they are, despite what a week of state tests might say about their performance or behavior. My students bring so much more to my classroom than a standardized test could ever measure.