Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I'm Alive. And Christmas has been Postponed.

Hi all,

I have a vicious blogging cycle that I sometimes fall prey to - I get backed up (usually due to an exciting topic or event - such as Christmas!), get it partially written, and then fall behind. Thus, I decide I will not forge on until I have time to finish the post and then catch up.

Clearly, there is a flaw in this plan.

So I'm sallying forth, since it's been a good month since a post of any note.
Also, Happy Birthday Grandma. I called, but she's probably out having a birthday lunch, probably the Poco Loco : p

Anyhow, so I'm kinda a legit teacher.

If legit means that I have yet to memorize half of my students' names (I have 10 original classes a week, and some just once - so that's a lot of names to get down), I come to most lessons prepared to do a portion that sometimes turns into the whole lesson, and I've been asked to sub 4 times. Twice in 5th form, for sections I don't normally team teach in.

So, you can probably pretty much imagine how that went. Also, I had no book...so I stole one of the children's. The first time it went ok (teacher was out sick) but two days in a row with no other teacher in the room and me knowing 2 students' names? Nope, not pretty. But not total chaos, so I'm taking survivor points on it. And major brownie points.

Sometimes, I just get so confused (ok, a lot, but for many different reasons). Like, yesterday, I was told I was needed to sub for a class that only meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They're the class that only meets twice a week, because they have German more often. I already taught the other half of the 9th form that morning with the other teacher. However, the teacher that I teach with on Tuesdays and Thursdays for them, is never in school on Mondays - she has a "methodological" day. Which is fine and dandy, until this happens.

But it gets better.

Mostly because it turns out I got ALL the 9th form (making me believe that I was technically subbing for a German teacher?), including the students I'd already had that day! Luckily (?), the students work out of different books - not that I or they probably had them that day. Students don't have lockers here - they must bring their books every day to every class. Sometimes they have desk partners, and this leads to extremely complicated arrangements for planning who will bring a book - which ends very simply when both forget.

So, I had - luckily- prepared for Tuesday, the activity I said I would - giving a structure for talking about your favorite book. Not that they haven't already had this topic, oh, probably 4 years running, but y'know. Quality books and such. So. I said we'd learn the structure, practice together and their homework would be to do it themselves. In return for paying attention (including the half of the class who wasn't supposed to be there), we'd play a game for the remainder of the class.

Well, attention was as good as I could have hoped: read, not very, and we got through the academic portion in 25 minutes. Leaving 20 for "Heads up, Seven Up" - although we played with 3. I'm glad that 9th form enjoyed it as much as I did in middle school, because it was the only ace up my sleeve. I figure, they're not stampeding through the halls and there was some learning done.

Speaking of, I had class with the co-teacher today with the class that was supposed to have English today. (If that made any sense...). She asked if I'd prepared anything and I told her I had - but I'd taught it the day before. Not that anyone did their homework.

I'll admit I wasn't too sad that they got yelled at.

Anyhow, she apparently didn't prepare ANYTHING, so they picked a spot at random in the book and worked on that. No comment.

However, I did have a really good lesson with the 6th form - we played a fishbowl game with sport vocabulary, and they both enjoyed it and didn't get ridiculously out of hand. I did get cornered by a parent afterward, who decided that we should both practice our secondary language skills. I really didn't know where the conversation was leading...he was asking if his son was good, and if...I don't really even know. So I beckoned through the open door to his teacher. Then I understood enough that he was not pleased with his child's marks/grades? The teacher simply said - let's go look at the grade book and waived me off...

I'm very gratefully I am unable to officially give grades.

Although a lot of volunteers apparently have issues with trying to give grades and then having the teachers change them or simply ignoring them. Definitely doesn't give the students any reason to have any extra respect. Of course, I'm still trying to figure out where marks should be given (how often, and what's the appropriate expectation level to have for each class level), so it's a bit daunting.

Practice Practice Practice.

And, by the way. Yes, things are a little crazy in the capital. Which I am 14 hours away from by train. My region is as quiet as a mouse, and seemingly unconcerned. I think they see westward progress and inevitable - not merely desirable. I also was put on "standfast" for 2 weeks - meaning I couldn't leave site. Thankfully, I just got off of that yesterday. It's tedious at best, and nerve-wracking at worst.

It wasn't the ideal way to end my first week of teaching. I'd already been quite anxious all week with dealing with expectations and it was a major blow. I had fears that the situation would really escalate and I'd find myself being evacuated. It's very hard to buckle down into teaching when you have that thought in the back of your mind.

But I bought a printer this last weekend. So it's official, I'm staying : p

Hope all is well,


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