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.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today was INSANE...

Thursdays are always hard.

We are on block schedule Wednesdays/Thursdays, where we have half our periods each day. I like the schedule for the large block of time in which I am able to accomplish a lot. When I have a really great project-based lesson plan, it is great to be able to use the full two hours without losing the momentum that occurs over the course of two class periods.

 Like yesterday, I did my awesome Green Day lesson about music censorship and Green Day's stand against it. It was the third time I've taught the lesson, and perhaps third time is a charm, or maybe it's just this awesome group of 42 intelligent and enthusiastic students, but that lesson just totally rocked my socks. Okay, I wasn't wearing socks, but if I was, they'd have been rockin'.

But Thursday are hard, because block schedule means I don't get a prep period that day. It means I teach straight through from 7:45a.m. to 3:25p.m., with only brief breaks. But today was especially hard, particularly because my students have an assignment due, and it was back to school night.

I arrived early to make phone calls about our New York trip. I keep remembering after school, but by then, most of the places back east are closed. So I called and paid for the theater tickets and started solidifying our dinner reservations. The bell rang way before I was ready, and off I went. It was a busy day of walking back and forth to the library with my classes to work on their narratives on the computers. The 5th period kids were making me crazy. So many of them were so far behind, and so many of them needed SO much help, and I wanted to go around and help them all, but if I was not standing in front of the room giving them all the evil "don't-you-dare-even-think-of-talking" eye, then they'd start talking. The assignment is due tonight at midnight. Why they felt they had time to waste, I had no idea. I eventually had to get super strict and totally yell and threaten to make them all turn off their computers and do nothing but read, since they apparently didn't need time to work.

During lunch I had a meeting with the New York trip kids about fundraising (ahem, family and friends, letters are coming- you've been warned). The bell rung so quickly, and I realized I had not eaten the salad I brought for lunch. Oh, well, I will eat it during drama, I thought.

Then there was drama... the veteran students keep complaining (Okay, only Kimberly keeps complaining, but I see it in all their faces) because I am actually teaching them this time. I have always sort of just DONE drama before and not really taught them all the background stuff, but this time I am trying to really teach them. I really feel like it is going well overall. There are a few problems with drama. Due to the nature of the class, I do not have them in a seating chart. They move so much, and we spend a lot of time in the auditorium, so it would kind of be a waste of time. Plus, it is an elective class, so I don't want them to feel like it is all strict. In addition, there are 52 kids in there. It creates wonderful energy for some things, but when I am trying to give instruction, it gets difficult. Because it is drama, it is a room full of energetic, outgoing kids who have a hard time not commenting on things to each other. Because there are 52 of them, a few murmurs here and a few murmurs there, very quickly turns into me yelling over them, which I refuse to do, so that turns into me standing there frustrated, giving them all the stink eye, waiting for them to shut up, far too often. AGH!!!! Today I just lost it and totally yelled at all of them. I scared them. They shut up. I apologized. We moved on.

And then there was much business to attend to. Cast members need to introduce their newly developed characters to each other. Crew needed to make plans for costumes and sets and whatnot. Publicity had a fundraiser to plan. I had a million pieces of paper to fill out for facility reservations and field trip requests. At one point, I remembered, "Oh yeah, try to eat," and even got my salad out, but then I realized the 30 minutes I'd given for group work was almost over and it was time to try some of the "relaxed readiness" exercises I had promised them. The salad was never eaten.

Before I knew it, the day was over. Still running around like a chicken with its head cut off, I set up my room for back to school night, helped students with their narratives, and helped the publicity crew get their fundraising stuff out and ready.

Back to school night was very successful, but very tiring. I am the 10th grade clan leader, and although it is not that much work, it is kind of mentally exhausting to feel in charge of something like the back to school night presentation. I could never be an administrator. I wouldn't ever sleep.

By the time I arrived home this evening, I was just completely drained. I looked down at my feet halfway through back to school night tonight and realized that all the walking back and forth on the asphalt in sandals made for disgustingly dirty feet. I cannot wait to get in the bath tonight.

At least it was an overall successful day. Things got accomplished. Back to school night was a success. My publicity crew made enough money to cover their expenses (advertising, programs, tickets, etc.) for our upcoming show. And hey... at least tomorrow is Friday.

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