The Lowdown

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OK, so it’s been months. Last time I left you, dear reader(s), I had just gotten a new job with the Bethel School District. I was set to go to Orientation, and ready to begin my first week of school.

Since then, five months have passed, and I have learned A LOT. A lot about teaching, about teenagers, my peers, and most of all, about myself. So, I’ve been teaching 3 classes of Communication Arts (English) 11 and 2 classes of Communication Arts 12. Two preps, but a lot of work! So far in my CA11 class this year, I’ve taught units on The Crucible, Frederick Douglass, narrative writing, and Edgar Allan Poe. I loved teaching The Crucible and the narrative writing unit, but I would have to say that Poe was not my favorite. Luckily, it’s been discontinued for next year. It was meant to be the summer required reading for all juniors, but none of them really read it. So, I ended up teaching it the first few weeks of school. Douglass was interesting, since I have been working with another teacher. She gave me an amazing project to use as we learned about slave perspectives using Douglass, Sojourner Truth, the Underground Railroad, and slave music. My students really liked the culminating project we did.

In my CA12 class, we have worked on The Importance of Being Earnest, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, Things Fall Apart, and A Modest Proposal/Gulliver’s Travels. Earnest was another instance of summer required reading where the students didn’t do the work and we ended up having to teach the entire text. I’ll have to do that again in the coming semester. Much Ado was a complete disaster. My first foray into teaching Shakespeare was not what I had hoped for, that’s for certain. I started with an introductory piece to teach them about Shakespeare’s life. They were bored. Then, I had them work in groups and rewrite scenes from the play. This might have been alright, except I think I jumped the gun. We probably should have finished reading the play first. Macbeth wasn’t much better. Mostly because I misjudged my time and ended up having to just show the film. I hate that. Things Fall Apart was ok, I guess, but I really hate that book. I mean, really.

I think that the thing that made this past semester the most challenging was the behavior issues I experienced with one of my senior classes. First, there were about 12 kids in the same class who had no business being together. Putting all of them in the same class created a difficult situation. And I felt very unequipped to deal with the attitudes, smart mouths, and apathy. There is one particular girl who made my life over the last few months a living hell. I never realized that one kid could have the capability of doing that. And what amazes me is that I allowed her to try my patience that way. I’ve never let a kid get to me like that before!  I feel as if I definitely earned my stripes this semester.

So, looking ahead. I am so thankful for this job. Even after the stress of last semester, I have an administration that really looks out for me and backs me up when I need it and a couple of good friends at work to vent to when the need arises. I am excited about this coming semester especially because of some great work my friend Patti and I are doing. We are working on teaching our junior classes together, and we even ended up with the same plan period! She has been a godsend to me this year, I don’t know that I could still be sane without her help.

Anyway, that is about all my brain can handle for the moment. I will try to be a lot better about updating, and explaining more about what’s going on. I have so much more to talk about, just not tonight.

Debate tournament in the morning at PLU. Fun times, teaching. 🙂

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