I try to take a first day of school picture every year, but since my husband is away this week helping my sister-in-law move from Seattle, I took a first day of school selfie! This is the beginning of year 5 in my teaching career. Dear readers, thanks for staying with me through half a decade!
Today was freshmen orientation day; I teach two freshmen classes, and I saw them both – for exactly ten minutes each. The day is really more for finding their way around minus the upperclassmen, but bless them, many show up to class with their binder, notebook, and giant literature textbook. Instead they got a quick seating chart and the “Top Ten Things Freshmen Cadets Need to Know” as gleaned from letters I made last year’s freshmen write as part of their final in May:
I spent a lot of time this spring joking about “selling” my freshmen classes, but I really do like them. Much more than I thought I would when I was hired in July of 2015 and found out English 9 was on my docket.
My small excitement for the week was having several students drop my AP English class.
I know this sounds callous – but one of my AP sections started the summer with 31 students, the other 30. My classroom cannot comfortably fit 31 students. My grading load cannot handle nearly 90 essays weekly. At least, not when I am also managing two freshmen classes and a sociology class. There were also several students that never turned in the first part of the summer reading assignment and already had zeroes in the grade book, before school even started. Now my three AP sections are down to 21, 28, and 28 – still bigger than I’d like, but even five kids dropping saves me 30-45 minutes of grading time every week. I’m sure they are lovely students and I am sad not to get the opportunity to know them, but the math nerd in me (the one who says “79 students X 10 page papers X 2 minutes/page = 26 hours of grading…) is relieved my numbers are approaching manageable levels. My ideal AP class would be about 20, but we’ll see how many make it through this first week…
I’m also proud of myself this week for my curriculum planning. Unlike last year, only one of my preps is new to me (sociology). But since it was my major, my biggest issue with that class is trying to keep the info level down – it’s just an elective and everyone in it is in several AP classes; it’s a fun class for them, not a dual-credit or AP or anything like that. I’m just so excited to teach something I actually know – unlike the last four years where I’ve adopted the fake-it-till-I-make-it mentality. Thanks to taking meticulous notes last year, I could duplicate much of my English curriculum and tweak the parts I screwed up, so my freshmen classes are relatively well planned through November, and my AP readings and assignments are done through September. This is the most prepared I’ve ever actually been for the school year to start…although that doesn’t translate to actually feeling prepared for the full gamut at 8 AM tomorrow…
Also, a shout-out to my mother this week, who has consented to Spartacus sleepovers while hubster is away in order to take away the daycare drop-off stress in the morning.
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