Saturday, January 25, 2014


I finally feel like I've found a place I can work for a very long time. After being over worked and exhausted at the charter school and demeaned and belittled at the junior high school, I look back at the journey I've had and it makes me appreciate my new job all the more. My other experiences almost chased me out of the education field completely.

At this new school, I feel like I've finally come home.

Monday, December 30, 2013


One of the greatest rewards of teaching is catching glimpses that you made an impact on a student's life.

When I taught at the charter school, I had some of my students for three or four years. I really felt like I knew these students well. I felt that I had an impact on some of them. I went on hikes with them, many field trips, and orchestrated many service excursions. I taught them English, creative writing, journalism, yearbook, and drama. I saw them through many projects. I hope that many of them will remember me long after they reach adulthood.

At the junior high, I also built some relationships with my students, writing needed letters, exposing them to Sherlock Holmes, and enjoying their amazing stories in creative writing class.

Hopefully I'll continue having an impact and making a difference at my new school as well.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

First Week

I started my first week at the high school last week. It's going to be an adjustment. New bell schedules, older students that have been used to having very little rules (electronics, texting, surfing the Internet, listening to music with their earbuds while I'm teaching, eating food and leaving a mess, and just leaving the classroom whenever they want, and coming to class late, etc.) so I'm having to reign them in some. And that will continue after the break.

But I knew it was going to be a rough go at first.

The upside is that the faculty has been bending over backwards to be helpful and welcoming. Great people to work with. And I love the content I'm teaching: Shakeseare, Emerson and Thoreau. It's the stuff I fell in love with and what I want to teach. My students, despite the loose rules they've been used to, are generally good kids and little by little they've been coming around and will learn my expectations quickly. It's also been great that I'm not a first-year teacher. Everything I've learned over the past five-plus years has seved me well. I really think I'm going to love it at the high school.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Celebration of Learning

While I was at the charter school, we held a celebration of learning twice a year. It was a culminating event where the students could show off their projects they had been working on all term. It was exhausting for the teachers and required long hours, but in the end the students were held accountable for their work. Their projects would be displayed along with everyone else and many of the students worked hard, knowing it would be in front of a real audience.

It was much more fun than a packet of worksheets or a test. It was a bonus if we made the projects meaningful in some way to the students. If they had an authentic audience, then they had a purpose and were generally more motivated.


Almost a month after I was hired, I will officially be moving to the high school.

I've been giving information to the new teacher replacing me and I wonder how much I should say. Should I warn her about what she's coming in to?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Two Places At Once: I Need A Clone

I moved quite a bit of my stuff in yesterday. Wow, the school is impressive! I'm excited to be there.

I found that the prior teacher left a bunch of stuff behind. Her career as a teacher is over since she is most likely heading to jail, so I guess that's why. I'm having to do some cleaning out while I move in.

The high school wants me to start immediately. Other teachers are planning lessons for the sub and grading papers on top of their own class responsibilities. I'm anxious to get started as well.

But then I haven't left the junior high yet either. I still have an obligation to those students and that school to continue teaching well there and to stay up on my grading.

On the other hand, I need to start prepping and planning for my new job! I'm nervous about coming in mid year. I really just want to jump in and forge ahead, but in order to do that, I need to know what curriculum to plan for. Luckily I'll be meeting with one of the high school teachers next week.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Another Move

I am in my sixth year of teaching. And I have moved five times in those years.

First move: first teaching job, charter school. It was the first year of this school, and the building was still under construction. So, we rented an old elementary school. I was in a portable. I was grateful. There were a few weeks when we weren't sure where our (the middle school) classrooms were going to be. The director was talking tents or dividing the library up.

Second move: the charter school's building was completed for the next school year. I moved with the school into a brand new building and a classroom with windows.

Third move: I wanted to teach the older students. That meant another move into the ninth grade classroom. A room in the shape of a sort-of triangle, and lots of windows.

Fourth move: left the charter school and got hired on to a junior high, a regular public school. Older building, but a whole wall of windows! This was my current position until . . .

Fifth move: which is what I'm currently undergoing. I got a job at a high school with a fantastic reputation with the district. I'm pretty excited about this move and I'm hoping to settle in for a long while here. I haven't seen my room yet. Hoping to have windows.