Monday, August 23, 2010

School's Back In Session

Today starts the first full week of school.  I always have mixed feelings about another year of school starting. There is always a little reluctance to let go of the summer, but at the same time, it gets a little boring not having something to do every day.  I look forward to starting over with a new group of students; it's like a fresh start every year.  However, it takes awhile to get to know the personalities of each new year's crop of students: which ones are the trouble makers, who is going to be the star student, who will need that extra push. And, of course, I have to learn a whole new set of names.

Everyone keeps asking me how school went, what do I think of my students, are my classes going to be okay? It is hard to say at this point.  Last week was only 3 days long and the first 2 days are just going through the school rules and my classroom rules.  Plus the students are still a little wary of me and aren't really acting like themselves yet.  I will know more after this week.  The regular school routine starts, and the kids start acting like themselves. 

I am cautiously optimistic about this class of students though.  I am hoping that most of the trouble makers are split up enough to not cause too much trouble.  I'm also really excited about the new way we are teaching the classes this year.  We have changed the Honors English classes to College Prep English classes.  This allows us to teach the regular English classes with the knowledge that none of the students in the class are planning on going to college, so I have taken out all the lessons on formal writing (MLA format, literature analysis, etc) and have replaced the research paper with a Career research project which should be much more valuable to students who are going into the work force after high school.

Although I teach juniors, I do have one freshman Basic English class.  I am teaching it as a composition class and plan on trying to get the students caught up on their English skills.  I'm cautiously optimistic about that class as well, but also anxious because I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to teach each skill and will have to write lesson plans throughout the year.  Working without a syllabus is weird for me. I usually know what assignments I'm going to teach throughout the entire year!

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