Holy, cow! It’s already November. It feels like only a few weeks ago I was beginning this crazy journey at Beaver Local High School. The 2015-2016 school year marks my seventh year as a public school teacher, but eighth total year teaching. I thought that by year seven, I had found my groove, but switching from WV to Ohio has been enough to push me out of my groove and into orbit. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as I am still totally out of my comfort zone (see my last post about the goal of breaking out of the comfort zone). But I am feeling a lot like the hamster on the week. My little legs are pumping and pumping, but I’m not always getting ahead of the rat race.
I haven’t taught the literature I am teaching to my students this year since 2008 during my student teaching. We have come a long way since 2008, so I don’t really have anything from then and I have been creating everything I’m using from scratch. This material creation has been exhausting, but so worth while. I have been pushing myself to think creatively on every single assignment. I have been pushing myself out of the box and I’m really enjoying the results I’m seeing from my students.
My sophomores just finished reading Antigone and my Seniors are about half way through with Beowulf. The first time I taught these difficult texts, my students really struggled. I remember teaching these the way my advising teacher did during my student teaching, and the students were checked out. This time around, I have worked hard to bring the text to life and it shows in the knowledge, understanding, and appreciation my students have shown of these texts. A coworker showed me the website Kahoot It. I have been using that to help us review. A student actually asked to take the test last week because he was so confident in his understanding of Antigone. That’s something that has never happened in my career. I know when I give these kids the formal test, they’re going to nail it because of the hard work I put into the planning stages of teaching. I typically revamp and create some new material as I go along, but I haven’t started from scratch like this since my first year. I challenge you to throw your old material out and start fresh. It will bring a new and great perspective to the classroom.
My new school has a 1-1 initiative. Every kid has an iPad. Some take their iPads home, and some keep them in their 7th period teacher’s room. Because of this initiative, I’m so excited to start blogging this week. We will begin by student creation on Thursday of this week. I plan to let the students create and experiment with their blog on Thursday and Friday. By Friday they will have to have an About Me Section on their page.
Stop back and check out our blogs next week! I’m so excited to get my kids writing and blogging.