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?