I have survived my first week of teaching the mathematics. It’s been a roller coaster already with almost every day swinging from one extreme to another. Here’s how the week went:
Monday: (Labor Day) Attended a barbecue where a fellow teacher (not first year) described the first year like being tossed into a shark tank. I naively thought I was on top of my game because I had two weeks of teacher conferences under my belt with not too much stress added.
Tuesday: First day of school went relatively smoothly due mostly to the fact that my classes consisted of a majority of freshmen who knew none of the kids around them. I finished the day in triumph, gladdened by the fact that I handed out books, went through syllabi and procedures, and taught a lesson all in one day for my three classes. I am pleased by the fact that my lunch hour coincides with my prep hour lengthening my prep to nearly two hours a day.
Wednesday: In first hour I was surprised by the information that 24 of my 34 students were Special Ed. mainstreamed students. Second hour nearly went out of my control for my lack of structuring work time at the end of the hour. Third hour prep was spent tying my notes together to present to my fourth hour Geometry class. Fourth hour geometry class nearly ate me alive, and I spent the majority of my drive home praying that I wouldn’t be dealing with classroom management hell my first year here. I also find out that there is a mandatory open house that I am required to be at on Thursday from 6-8 P.M.
*Note: Our high school is going through construction as they are adding air conditioning and remodeling and modernizing the rooms. This means the windows are sealed in anticipation of air conditioning throughout the building. The air conditioning will be ready around Christmas time. Needless to say, cramming 35 students into a classroom with no ventilation or cooling is miserable and makes it hard to teach, especially the last hour of the day.
Thursday: Since I prepared extra well in response to Wednesday’s mess, I was on top of my classes. First and second blocks went by without a hitch. Prep was relaxing. Fourth hour was completely under control, and the students seemed to be responding to me well. I stay at school to do work, get to know coworkers, and be present at the high school open house.
Friday: I find out that my first hour will be mixed with another first hour to even out Special Education numbers. This is both good and bad: good because it will be easier to cater to student needs, bad because I’m trying to finalize seating charts, grading book names, and this has been my most behaved class so far. I spend most of my prep preparing for Geometry. Geometry was a mess after I finished with the lesson. The students were hot, there was a football game that night with a dance, they wanted to go home, they didn’t like the fact that we already were going to be quizzed, they didn’t like my review, and 5 to 6 students tried to ask for passes to get water and go to their locker when it was clear they just wanted to avoid the classroom during instruction. I left feeling relieved that I would get rest this weekend.
It is a time consuming endeavor. I hear that after a couple years preparing doesn’t take nearly as long and things are generally smoother. But even though I have long hours for now, I love teaching and being with these kids.