Behind the 8-ball, under the gun, and out of wind

Yes, idioms really do concentrate so much, don’t they? Well, it’s just about the second week of school and I’m already excited that we have two extra days off before October. Not because I hate my job or even because I miss all the time I had during the summer to spend with my new daughter, but because hopefully by October I will be caught up with September.

School started with a bang, and much changed, as usual. To address our school’s needs in light of the new common core standards, we have two foci: taking on curriculum mapping, and raising the level of questioning. You would think I’d have seen this coming since my friends’ schools have been doing that for about two years or so now. (I don’t say that to suggest my school is behind; there are areas in which we are ahead of the game, too). Regardless, it means that the school is trying to transform how children are taught to engage with a subject. So far it all sounds very positive. But, as with all initiatives, good or bad, it really comes down to how the staff is trained and how it is implemented. I think doing something like this is a massive undertaking in any elementary school, and even more so in a school with 200 teaching personalities and styles, and 2,000 students. I would say that many teachers I know do already engage the children at higher levels of inquiry, but now the curriculum will help support more of that.

But that isn’t why I feel so pressured and behind. Teaching ELLs, you aren’t just planning the regular curriculum with a few extra vocabulary words thrown in. You have to plan every step how you are going to do what needs to be done — are you going to partner up the three Chinese kids because they can share your one chinese-english dictionary and they can help each other? Or do you want to challenge them to befriend others, despite the frustrated looks it will cause and the required additional teaching required? P

lus, it was only a few days ago that it was decided how I would teach math. Since I have a bridge class, there had to be some figuring out of time management as well as subject — how would I teach two separate grades their math curriculum without totally dismantling the rest of their daily subject requirements? Also, for whatever reason, I feel very out of the loop. Apparently it was passed via hearsay that our bulletin boards needed to be finished by Friday. When did I find out? 3PM Friday.

Yes, whenever I think I have finally gotten into a certain swing of things, something comes along and changes the rhythm.


One thought on “Behind the 8-ball, under the gun, and out of wind

  1. Pingback: Remainders: Analyzing 80-year-old, discarded student data | GothamSchools

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