After completing a more or less successful Slice of Life March (I missed a day at the beginning and a few at the end), I apparently took April off from blogging. Oops!
It’s that time of year, though. The snow has melted. The crocuses have bloomed. Spring break has come and gone. So now, it’s time for the break-neck sprint to mid-June and the end of the school year.
I’ve been at 4 different schools in my career, and each school has a different feel to it in May. However, there is one thing that is consistent: May is busy. Spring sports wrap up, so athletes are missing more and more school as tournaments abound. Seniors can see, smell, taste, and nearly touch the end of their high school career. Prom planning takes over at least one or two teachers’ lives and occasionally their classes. Honors nights are emphasized and de-emphasized. Graduation is planned, and it will happen.
Meanwhile, we need to not forget our focus: teaching our content. Even though it’s 75 degrees outside and 92 in our classrooms. Even though a promposal is happening between classes and all the students are atwitter (and a few even on Twitter). Even though even though even though.
Something I’ve found helps in these months: knowing what’s going on at the school, top-down. Is next week Tuesday a different schedule? Why? When do the students need to know? You don’t want to be the teacher without these answers. Also, keeping a solid bond between teachers and students. If the students trust you and your teaching, they’re much less likely to rebel in this last hectic month. You can actually get a full year of teaching in! And finally, keep a solid bond among teachers. This is not the time of year to cancel the Friday happy hour (or whatever you may do as a staff to keep connected). In fact, it’s even more important now as sometimes emotions and tempers can match the weather for increase in heat.
To teachers everywhere: good luck this month! You can do it!
My students know that I love Spanish. And many of them are taking Spanish, so there’s some solidarity there. But many others are taking French or Italian. So there’s a lot of good-natured teasing back and forth.
Something pretty cool has been happening lately, though. The French students have been doing what they can to pepper French into our class. They’ll greet me with a bonjour! or ask me ça va? when we pass in the hallways. Yesterday, we were writing haiku in class. One student called me over, a huge grin on his face. I knew something good or something funny was about to happen — either way, I was excited.
When I got to his desk, I looked at his haiku: completely in French. He looked up and asked me, with a smile, “What do you think?” I turned the tables on him, though, asking why he used the word for “funny” when he meant to use the word for “smart.” Our gentle teasing continued, while he was practicing his French.
A little background for this next snippet: teaching at a Catholic school, I start every class with prayer. Every day, I ask each of my classes if anyone would like to lead us. In every class but one, I’ve had volunteers throughout the year. One class, though: not a single person stepping up to lead. That’s fine; I would never force anyone to pray, I just ask that they join in if they’d like and be respectful if they’d rather not. But I ask every day anyway. I don’t want to deny someone the chance to do something just because I’m making an assumption that saves me 10 seconds of time. So today, I asked. And a hand went right up. I took my seat, and the student led us in prayer.
She chose the Our Father.
The language battle continues :-)
In two days, literacy professionals will descend on Grand Rapids, Michigan for the annual Michigan Reading Association Conference.
There are a lot of things I’m excited for:
- Meeting up with my English teacher family
- Finding new friends, those I’ve interacted with online and those I don’t even know exist at this moment
- My first-ever solo presentation at a major conference
- Friday night (so big, it gets a subsection)
- I’m giving an Ignite talk as are several other Michigan educators. I’m a little nervous, but mostly excited.
- There is a lip sync battle scheduled, and I just might be a part of it. I’ve picked some ridiculous songs. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
- There will be plenty of Nerdy Book Club people around, and that makes this one of my favorite nights of the year
- Grand Rapids: the city is just a wonderful place to be for a weekend
I can’t wait. Will you be there? Come to the Pure Michigan event Friday night! See you then!
Today was the Skype day. Everything was set. We had questions prepared. We had a schedule set. We HAD SCHOOL, which was what foiled us the first two times.
Then I got to school. Our schedule had changed. The Skype times needed to be adjusted, too.
Fortunately, we were able to be flexible, and our students finally got the chance to connect with some students in another classroom in another part of the country. Some questions worked, and some didn’t. Some students got stage fright, and some didn’t. It’s how it goes. But I was glad we connected. Just not without some hiccups, because that’s just how it goes. Thanks, Mrs. Minnich, for Skyping with us today!
As the school year has gone on, my friend Cindy and I have realized that since we both teach a bunch of freshmen and wouldn’t it be great if we had them Skype with each other? So we arranged a time. Our kids were excited.
And we had a snow day.
So we rescheduled. And our kids were excited.
And we had a cold day.
So we decided not to schedule. Bad things happen when we schedule it. So yesterday, Cindy approached me with an idea that we should Skype, as my students are beginning their poetry stuff, and her kids have good things to say about poetry. So we’re doing it! Tomorrow! It will happen.
::checks the weather forecast::
Yes! It will happen!
Today is a Sunday with not much planned. It’s been nice. I woke up, went to church, where the priest gave a nice homily on our duty to serve others, and then my wife and I went shopping. We’re just sort of lazing around now, getting a little cat nap in and some reading.
Which is good.
Because tomorrow, the 4th quarter begins.
This coming weekend is MRA.
The weekend after that begins spring break, and we’re taking our honeymoon trip (finally!).
Then the school year goes on full blast.
Then nErDcampMI is right around the corner.
And around the same time, our first born will be born.
Then there’s the rest of my life, being a parent.
So I’m grateful for today. And I’m sure every relaxing moment will be treasured four times as much as it ever was in just a few months from now.
Happy Sunday, everyone!
As some of you readers may know, my wife is Canadian. I am not. She lives in Canada. I do not. But I’m working on that. It’s a lot of paperwork and official forms from both Canada and the United States. The biggest thing is actually the waiting period as things get processed. Today, I was working on the finishing touches on my application.
Also today, I was working on what my 9th graders will be doing when we start the fourth quarter on Monday: poetry. So it only makes sense that I write a poem today.
“A New Pair of Old Shoes”
Something new, feels like
To move north.
Heading east to the girl
From the west.
Everything is backward,
Yet like facing forward for the first time.
Comfortable and easy.
At home after years on the road.
Some things never change.