Category Archives: school

3 down, 177 to go

The first week of school is over and done with.  Pre-tests are scored (mostly), seating charts are made (and griped about), lab safety has been taught (I hope!).  The first week is always rough.  It’s full of learning 150 new names, figuring out 150 new personalities, and letting 150 new kids know that you’re the boss (don’t mess with me or I’ll hold you after class!).  It’s teaching rules and procedures and routines that these kids are going to have to follow (and you’re going to have to enforce) for the rest of the semester.

I’m not a huge fan of the beginning of the year.  It’s the most difficult time of the year for me because these don’t really know me.  Sure, maybe their brother or sister or cousin or bff had me last year, but each group of kids is different and needs to be interacted with in a different way.  I can’t joke with them like I want to yet.  They don’t get my humor yet.  They don’t know that I hate it when they talk when I’m talking and that I will rip heads off for it.  So I have to rip a few heads off the first few days of class. (Side note, I have to do it again after the first few weeks of class because these crafty kids just keep testing you!)

I’m also really bad at names.  I have to practice in my spare time because I’m horrible at pronouncing people’s names.  And some of these kids have names that are really difficult for me to pronounce!  I am fully against letting women who have been pumped full of drugs name their children.  “I shall call her Ashley.  Only I’m going to spell it Aetilie.  That won’t completely piss off my kid when they get into school.”  (Not a real name, but I’ve seen stuff like it).

But now it’s the weekend again.  I have sleep in, hang out, and lesson plan so that I can get back to kiddos and rules and lectures and activities and labs on Monday.

And so it starts…

I’m continuously sadden by the hypocrisy that I see in the education field.  Certain areas do not have state or national assessments so they are not always given the full attention they should be given.  It’s sad that politics sometimes out way the needs and wants of the students.

Back to school

School’s back in session in Arizona.  For people with kids, that means back to school shopping, scheduling pick-ups and drop-offs, and going to parent night and spot meetings.  For kids, it means seeing friends you haven’t seen all summer, wondering how hard you classes are going to be this year, guessing who’s still dating whom, and finding out if your new teachers are cool or hard.  For teacher’s, it’s a slightly different set of worries, problems, and even relief.

Yes, I have a summer vacation.  And yes, I  enjoyed my summer vacation.  It’s the perk of my job.  Some people get to travel.  Some people get expense accounts.  Teacher get summer breaks.  But there are also negatives to having 2 1/2 months off.  I’m completely out of my daily routine.  I just spent 2 1/2 months sleeping in, reading, swimming and hanging out with friends (I’m aware that this does not sound like that much of a negative).  I’m out of sorts.  Ever taken a week away from work and it takes you a few days to get back in the swing of things?  It’s like that.  Except I don’t have a few days to get back in the swing of things.  Students are back in the class on Wednesday at my school and I have to be completely ready to greet them with a smile and a plan.

Well, they’re screwed.

To get teachers back into their grove, most schools have back to school teacher days two to three days before students began wondering the halls.  Teacher days sound nice.  In reality, it’s two to three days of none stop meetings where the administration talk about the vision of the school (hasn’t change since last year), the discipline policies (haven’t changed since last year), the various new (not really) services that are offered to staff and students to help students achieve better scores on AIMS and other standard tests.  It’s computer training (where the computers don’t work) and BBP training (same video as last year) and making sure everyone has their schedules and knows when all the other meetings throughout the year are.  Then it’s department time, making sure you’re aligned with other teachers who teach the same subject in your department, getting the department goals from the department head, and discussing (arguing) over the merits of a point based grade or a weighted grade.  This leaves me exactly 2 hours during Freshman orientation (cause I don’t teach Freshman) and 3 hours before students fill the too many desks of my classroom to prepare my room, make copies, tweak any first day things I need to tweak, fix my pre- and post- tests, making sure I have the correct pre- and post- tests, and going over my rooster to ensure that all the students have met the prerequisites for the class.


For some teachers, there’s also a bit of anxiety involved in first day shenanigans.  Will the kids behave?  Will I have any huge behavior problems?  Will my lessons work and be effective?  Will I meet my goal?  Will I have enough time to cover all of the material that I need to cover in a semester?

But it’s not all worries and problems.  I am very relieved to be back at work.  For one thing, I get a paycheck again (that’s right I have summer’s off and don’t get paid for them.  Most public school teachers are only paid for 184-190 days).  Seeing some money coming in makes me happy.  Of course I’m not teaching for the money.  No one teaches for the money.  I’m teaching because I truly enjoy the profession.  I enjoy the kids (yes, even the pains in the you-know-what), I enjoy my subjects, and I enjoy spreading science knowledge to the next group (really, I do).

So here’s to the 2013-2014 school year.  It’ll be difficult (I’m re-writing two classes…again).  It’ll be fun (new labs always make me happy).  It’ll be long days and longer nights of planning and writing and grading.

Bring it!

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