Last Friday wrapped up the first quarter, and it is a reality check of how fast this year has flown!
I have the problem I’ve had every year with my AP students, that there are too many As. Actually, by the time all extra credit is entered, every kid has an A of some sort. I have very good students, but this is mostly me: I don’t assign enough things, I don’t grade them with enough depth (lots of last minute completion grades), and I don’t grade them fast enough. If a kid was absent the day I graded something but it takes me over a week to get it entered into the gradebook, the student doesn’t know he or she has a zero until weeks after we’re wrapped up that reading. I feel so guilty about this (even though they should be checking on these things) that I often let them do it for some credit despite my late work policy. Mostly, I know most of my students have three or four AP classes, and don’t get enough sleep as it is, and I feel very bad for them. They are stressed out, worried about colleges and grades, and as long as they’re all making an effort in my class, I just don’t have it in me to penalize them for small things just to make my grades fit a bell curve. Of course, none of my students complain, and this contributes to raving reviews about my class…I had two students this week tell me, in person and by email, that I am one of their favorite teachers and thank me for my teaching. After feeling so overwhelmed for most of the quarter, it’s really great to feel like I’m doing something right.
I looked at my rosters for third quarter and discovered my freshmen classes have about a 75% turnover, with most of my students going to the other teacher and her kids coming to me because of various schedule changes (I only have two sections of freshmen). This will drastically change the dynamics of those classes come January, but perhaps not having the entire freshman football team in one classroom might not be the worst thing in the world. We started Romeo and Juliet this week so I will have to enjoy this unit as it’s the last I’ll have with this group.
I’m also losing two yearbook girls and gaining one, which I need to speak to the counselors about – yearbook really is a yearlong class. We spent weeks doing photography and layouts and assigning deadlines that a student can’t pop in mid-year and expect to catch up easily. We’ll welcome this girl, as I think she can do it, but it’s frustrating to the rest of the class who spent all that time putting work in fighting through with an adviser who didn’t know what she was doing.
My husband and I closed on a house on August 31, and last week finally moved ourselves in. Our stuff has been there for several weeks after we cleared out our storage unit, but we just haven’t had the time to spend time making it habitable. During that time we had lots done though – we put on a new roof, installed a utility sink, bought a new dishwasher and dryer, and are upgrading some parts of the electrical – the house was built in 1925. We had applied to HGTV’s House Hunters in September and actually got to the last part in the casting process, filming an audition video, but were unfortunately not selected. We suspect our town is not “flashy” enough – we weren’t working with a half a million dollar budget as you often see of House Hunters; instead, we paid less for our new home than some people pay for their new cars. We are very happy with it, though the joys of homeownership are just beginning.
Spartacus is now fifteen months old and does all the things little boys like to do: point at things, throw balls, French kiss the dog, climb stairs, and shriek things that sound very much like “Daddy” and “Momma” but not necessarily at the appropriate moments. Also coffee looks like chocolate milk, and he just doesn’t understand why I won’t share mine with him every morning. Back molars are coming in, so the teething woes return with the colder weather. He is digging our new house (it has lots of steps) but because we are still in the midst of unpacking he finds all sorts of new toys to deliver to us from mystery locations. So far he’s unearthed missing screwdrivers, a travel mug, a bag of milkbones, a can of pumpkin, and an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) from one of hubster’s army boxes.
I am surprised that I’ve only written half a dozen posts this school year, but I’ve started twice that and never finished them. There are never enough hours in the day; I leave school on an average day around 4:30, pick up Spartacus from daycare around 5, do dinner and bath and get him to bed about 7:30, then try to sneak an hour in with hubster between studying Biblical Greek for his grad school classes, attempting to unpack the house, and going to bed by ten because we are just so exhausted at the end of the day. We eat a lot of hamburger helper because it’s easy and requires minimal grocery shopping (another time suck). This week I get Thursday and Friday off for fall break, and I couldn’t look forward to those few free hours more!