Saturday, April 13, 2013

Behind the Curve

In the immediate aftermath of Spring Break, I inherited a new class to teach.  More accurately, they were a class new to me, having been organized since September and coming into my care because of some unfortunate events.  So, days from the 4th and final quarter of the year, a group of 10th graders woke up one morning to discover that Ms. Sassafras was their new World History teacher.

I'm not sure who was more horrified.

I've not taught 10th graders at this school but I do regularly teach 11th graders, and I know what sorts of skills they need to succeed in Junior-year U.S. History.  So I started at that assumption and made it my challenge to get my Sophomores fluent in the construction of sound analytical arguments.   I also wanted them to adjust to the idea that expectations are the foundation of a successful education, in History and every other subject.

The group is coming along nicely and I enjoy having them in my classroom, which is a good thing.  But a new-to-me-class with material I've not taught for more than ten years is a challenge.  I spent part of my Spring Break getting a plan for the class together.  I like to be two weeks ahead when preparing a new course, but for now that's an impossible goal.  After all, I still have four other classes to teach (not to mention a 120-student study hall to wrangle).  I have had to accept the fact that I can only prepare lessons and assignments for a week in advance.  

There are some good things about the group…I am reminded how much I love to think through a new class, how much students love structure and the sense of accomplishment from mastering ideas, and how far good will and genuine enthusiasm for the subject can take a teacher.  So there is an upside to this change in my school year, even if I sometimes feel I am just barely holding my head above water, counting the days until summer break.  

No comments: