The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Work Fast Mode

Tonight I need to go into work fast mode. My Honors class is now doing the Shakespeare letter assignment. (They were finishing a romantic poetry unit the past two weeks). Tonight, I have their 27 letters to read and comment on. My unit working out depends on them getting comments on their letters no later than Friday morning. That gives me tonight and tomorrow.

In addition, my regular classes (101 students) turned in their final drafts of the letters last week as they mailed out 5 in envelopes to potential sponsors. I started grading them over the weekend and have kept up with it throughout the week, and I actually am in a pretty good place with that. I have 24 of them left to grade. Since I do not comment at this point (except in a few instances), but rather just circle numbers on the rubric and calculate the grade, it moves rather quickly. Under normal circumstances, I could get through them in about an hour or so. I really need to get through these by Friday too, because I have realized throughout grading them, that about 25% of my students did not take the letter as seriously as I needed them to and thus are scoring less than 100/200. In a college prep school, and with my standards for college prep students, this is not acceptable. The students have come to understand that this sort of performance on any culminating assessment will not stand, and there will be a re-do assignment. I have already created the rewrite assignment to give the necessary students on Friday, and then they will get one week to do the rewrite for an updated grade. This means I need to have them all graded and ready to return by Friday.

Now here is the really scary part. Both my administrator and my peer reviewer are coming in to observe me this week. I am not worried about the lessons. I am worried about MY WALLS. They are EMPTY! Okay, that may seem like a crazy thing to be worried about, if you don't teach at my school, but my school is HUGE on optimal use of the walls. I just switched units, so they are empty right now. I need to post student work (I plan to place photocopies of the best Shakespeare letters all around my life-size Shakespeare poster), the standards for this unit, examples of using thinking maps in my teaching, essential questions (big broad ideas to drive the instruction) for the unit, and vocabulary for the unit, as a bare minimum. In addition, I also usually put inspirational quotes that relate to the topics we are studying and some related pictures or images, like the covers of the texts we are studying at the time. I have some of it in my file cabinet from last year, but I revised this unit like crazy since last year, so a lot of it needs to be created from scratch. I ideally need to do this before school tomorrow, because my administrator could be coming in at any time.

There is only so much time before school however, and I also didn't get through all the copies I need to after school today, so I am going to have to get up really early tomorrow.... but I am probably going to end up going to bed REALLY late tonight.

Uh oh... this is starting to sound like a night that may not involve sleep. Considering that I got the flu Monday and didn't go to work yesterday and am still sort of getting over this all (probably in the process of getting a sinus infection), I am not sure how well this is going to work out. It is probably going to result in me sleeping a whole heck of a lot this weekend again.

Ugh. This has been one long week.

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