First off, let me apologize... this is going to be a random, whiny, bitchy post. Every year, I have at least one meltdown with regard to the imbalance in my life of school vs home.... feel free to ignore this post because this is definitely one of those times :)
Grades - UGH!
Today was day 2 of the new semester and grades were due. I hate this time of the year! Even though I had their exams graded in December, I always put off the rounding decisions until the end. Honestly, I've never been one to submit grades right away - I'm always a "pushing-the-deadline" kind of gal. (I've gotten worse over the years, maybe because I'm always thinking something better will come around and I will miss an opportunity.. but anywho, that has nothing to do with grades and why I hate them). I wish our transcripts showed number grades rather than letters. I hate that an 89.5 is an A and an 89.4 is a B, but that 0.1 of a percentage means NOTHING! The 89.5 kid doesn't know THAT much more info than the 89.4 kid! This wouldn't bother me AS much if we could give + and -, but its still annoying! Of course, with SBG, the students really have lots of control over their grade, so it was easier to deny the emails of "Will you round my 79.3 to a B?" when the student had not come in for reassessments... :)
This year, we did not have a teacher work day as part of the winter break. This really is throwing me for a loop since I usually used that day to file papers, clean my room, clean the whiteboards, etc. So yesterday, on day 1 of the new semester, we hit the ground running. We've only been back two days now and I already feel like I need a two week break! I have upteen unfinished piddly projects that need to happen, but I just don't have the time to get it all done. One of my New Year's resolutions was to try to get home earlier and that's already shot. :( However, they have decided to start turning off the hallway lights at work at 5pm, plus my room sensor turns off the lights every 10 minutes (it's motion activated and for some reason I just don't dance a jig while grading papers!), so that makes for a really piss-poor work environment in the winter!
Hubby also took off work during Winter Break, so I tried to limit my school work time. The first week, we spent time relaxing, decluttering the house, and random tidbits that needed to happen. The second week, I knew I needed to work a bit each day, so I did. However, by the end of the break, I was "Evil Groutchy Wife" because I felt behind. I *hate* that a teacher's to-do list is never quite done, it's just "done enough for now". In order to do this job right, we should teach 2 classes and have a plan period for the other 4 hours of the day. Instead, a lot of the prep goes home with me and "Evil Groutchy Wife" appears. I keep thinking it will get better, but I'm on year 12 of teaching AP and so far I haven't stopped learning and growing and changing things to make them better. My prep work over the years has changed. In the early years, it was more about ME learning the content in order to maybe teach it half-way decently. (Please note, it's not that I didn't KNOW the material, but knowing it and teaching it are two different issues). I'm well past that point of prep work being content based, so now the prep work is more of a "Build a Better Mousetrap" variety. The "Mousetrap" prep work is almost MORE time consuming because I want students to make connections, be more self-led, keep them enaged with the material, discover patterns and ideas, and develop more of the mathematical "habits of mind" that we hear about.
We've all heard from our principals to make sure we put at least one positive comment into our phone calls home for those unruly students, so here's mine... No matter how grumpy I feel, I do love what I do. I love the feeling I get when chatting with my teacher friends about new ideas to try. I love watching my students laugh the past few days as we've explored Fake Coin Flips and The Price is Right. And that, my friends, is what keeps me coming back year after year....