The End is Near!

It’s Thursday, March 7, and once today is over, there are only 6 more school days left in my academic year. The end of the year here is very different from the end of the year back home. as I’ve experienced both as a student and as a teacher. By the final week, it’s all about community, reflections on growth, sharing pictures, yearbooks, movies, wrapping up projects, Field Day, and so on. Here, though, it feels more like Amador or UCLA to me. The final week is set aside for summative exams (finals) for grades kindergarten through 11. (The grade 12 students have already graduated; I even went to their prom!).

I am currently sitting in the freezing cold library (I bought a fleece sweatshirt for the sky train and the library), procrastinating. I have four working days left to write a test and make a review game for my IP6 science class. It simply will not take me that long, and my brain knows that. In some ways I’ve also already mentally checked out of this school year. With the emphasis on their tests and with so many co-teachers with whom I can share party planning responsibilities (at least we’ll have a party next Friday!), I’ve been left with a lot of time to reflect and plan. I’m planning my April trip to California and Vancouver and reflecting on these last three years of teaching in order to start thinking about next year.

If I teach the same grades and subjects next year, the 2013-2014 school year will be my first second year of teaching. That wasn’t a typo; I’ve just never taught the same thing two years in a row. This could be it!

My list of ideas/changes for next year are here. I will add as I think of them:

  • Be more effective and efficient by truly co-teaching. Have small groups in math, split up responsibilities in art, collaborate more
  • Assign one math project per quarter, and have it based on real life situations.
  • Make lunch detentions worthwhile — reflection forms, letters of apology, action plans for getting homework done
  • Think of different consequences for not doing homework — doing it at lunch, staying after school (but the important thing is to figure out WHY the repeat offenders are NOT ABLE to do their homework at home; maybe a punishment is not the answer).
  • Use more behavior charts for kids — for organization, shouting out, etc.
  • Find time to teach remedial math to kids who need it — after school? required?
  • Get organized! More binders, more files, etc.
  • Don’t tutor after school for kids who don’t need it. (I currently tutor – for some extra cash – two very academically successful kids who are basically just annoying to their older sister. I want my after-school time to be for paying attention to students who truly need it.)

And another list for myself. I like a fresh start.

  • Take an online course.
  • Practice Spanish with a tutor.
  • Write more blog posts.
  • Be more crafty (i.e. actually DO the Pinterest crafts I keep pinning).
  • Cook more. By not tutoring after school, I’ll be able to devote more time to cooking on weekdays.

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