Monday, January 2, 2017

After Thanksgiving the Year is Over Right?

A Day in the Life Post:  November 26, 2016

6:00am:  We arrive at the Wichita Airport and catch our flight back home to Atlanta.  We have spent the week with my husband’s family for Thanksgiving.  We opted to go this week instead of Christmas because I was going to have a shortened Christmas break; well, that was when I booked the tickets and before I resigned from teaching.  Still, even though it was a shortened trip, we enjoyed seeing the family, and I always love spoiling my little nieces!  It is actually pretty relaxing at my in-law’s house or rather, I make it so.  I did get two books read this week after all.

9:00am:  We land in Atlanta.  I am exhausted still even though I slept most of the flight home.  These early morning flights kill me – it is hard enough to be up by 6am for school let alone on an airplane.  Hartsfield-Jackson airport is dead, and we somehow make it from landing gate to our driveway up in the north suburbs by 10:10am.  Anyone reading who lives in Atlanta knows that is a miracle within itself. 

10:30am:  I am at home and just made a cup of coffee.  I am trying to relax and catch up on some fun reading and social media before getting back to the grind on Sunday (tutoring lined up for students testing the first couple of days back from Thanksgiving break).  I am dreading going back to school on Monday because I am still so exhausted from the pre-thanksgiving push in the classroom as well as traveling.  One of my colleagues from my former school once said:  “once you make it to Thanksgiving the year is over.”  Why don’t I feel this way?  Especially when my year is truly over at the winter break?  There are 4 weeks left (finals included) before winter break, and I literally do not know how I will get through them.   I decide to take a nap; I am still so tired.

3:00pm:  Wake up from nap on couch – apparently I was snoring…  I cannot believe I have slept most of this day away already.  I spend the rest of the evening in my chair with my i-pad, scanning twitter, facebook, and then streaming Netflix.  I completely went into vegetation mode.  The one good thing I did for myself the Friday before break was stay at school until 7pm to get materials ready for both classes for the first week back.  I knew that would relieve stress the weekend before returning, and that certainly became a fact today.  I am so glad I am ready to go for Monday in my classes and can spend my 1st hour planning period to mentally get back in the game.

8-10pm:  I am wide awake and will not get to sleep early tonight for sure.  I decide to pick and print my tutoring materials for the next day.  Big Pre-Cal, AP Calculus, and Honors Algebra 2 tests coming up at the local schools I tutor for this week as well as continued prep for some students for the Geometry EOC coming up before winter break.

12:00am:  I go to bed and hope to fall asleep soon as my working world begins again in just over 12 hours.  I realize I have not completely shut it off this week, but I am not sure a teacher ever does.   I think Thanksgiving break is about pulling back for a few days and resting enough to have energy for the final push to winter break.

Reflection Questions

1) Teacher make a lot of decisions throughout the day.  Sometimes we make so many it feels overwhelming.   When you think about today, what is a decision/teacher mover you made that you are proud of?  What is one you are worried about?

I have not made any daily decisions regarding teaching in over a week, and that actually feels great!  I feel like this will give me the energy to face the daily decisions again coming up again in a couple of days.  One decision I am worried about is that I chose to tutor tomorrow instead of enjoying the last day of my break.  The kids need it though, and this is the work that will sustain me when I am out of the classroom in a month.  It is hard for me to say no to my students whether they are in my classroom or my tutoring students.  This is what wears me and so many teachers out.  Caring about their progress, their needs and what is best for them when they don’t realize it themselves.  It is both grueling and rewarding –double edged sword sort of thing.

2)  Every person’s life is full of highs and lows.  Share with us some of what that is like as a teacher.  What are you looking forward to?   What has been a challenge for you lately?
It has been challenging to keep Algebra 1 students on track in this long push to Thanksgiving break.  Our Unit 2 lasted through 6 assessments, and starting our 3rd unit on Exponential Expressions and Equations has been hard to do so late in the semester.   I am looking forward to the graphing portion of this unit because I am going to use my transformations activity together with Desmos to push exploration of the asymptote and transformations of exponential graphs.  This is just the spice we need after Thanksgiving break to keep it interesting in these last weeks until winter break.

3)  We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is.  As teachers we work to build relationships with teachers and students.  Describe a relational moment you had with someone lately.  

It is really about a relational past few weeks with a group of students.  I had mentioned in an earlier blog about my 3rd period Accelerated Algebra class being the toughest group of honors I have worked with.  In past weeks they have stepped out ahead in their pursuit of learning and understanding in our current quadratics unit, which has been the hardest unit so far this semester.  A few weeks ago, they were so reticent in experimenting and struggling with concepts.  They have pulled back on that resistance while also working with a more involved type of function in our toughest unit so far this year.  I feel we have brought our communication and teacher-student interactions into a rhythm that works better for all.   It may have been easier to do because they are a smaller class, but seeing them work hard and subsequently find more success is so rewarding. 

4) Teachers are always working on improving, and are often have specific goals for things to work on
     Throughout the year.  What have you been doing to work on your goal?  How are you doing?

     I feel like I am working well with spiraling homework within a given unit, but not as good with
     spiraling homework for the semester; the time factor beat me on that.  I am still pushing as much
     as possible to keep integrating Desmos and exploration of concepts in every chance I get, and that
     part is a win; especially given that it is on the front-loading part of instruction.

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