Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sleepy Saturdays

I tried this new thing this Saturday.

Everyone enjoying the post blizzard snow!
It was called waking up at 8am and starting work with the goal to finish all my work for the weekend by Saturday night. I figured since I am almost always in bed by 10pm on Friday nights anyway, waking up at 8am instead of my usual 10, 11, sometimes noon, might be more productive and not swamp/overwhelm my Sundays with so much work.

Well let me tell you how that panned out.

I woke up at 8am, accompanied Laika and Vanessa to the park (post blizzard), worked till about 12:30 and hit a BRICK WALL. I then decided to nap on the couch with Laika and Diane for 3 hours.... and now I'm writing a blog post. So... perhaps my Saturday is not as productive as I would have liked, and I'll still have work to do on Sunday, but I guess all things considered I'm ok with that.

Laika Loves Off Leash Time in the Park! (or as my sister would say: PARP!)
Anyway, in my last post I promised to write about some of the good things that have been happening lately starting off with my the new special ed teacher they hired this semester! I LOVE her!! She has been teaching in NYC for 7 years, was a teaching fellow, grew up in Southern California, and helps me SO MUCH. At first I was pretty skeptical that we would be able to find anyone good to fill the position midway through the year, but turns out we did! (She wasn't teaching this fall because she had to go back to the west for personal reasons, but returned back to NYC after things got sorted out.)

My Classroom
It is night and day difference in my classroom with her there! Seriously. Most of the time in that class I'd have 50% compliance, but sometimes it would even drop to 10% compliance.. and that is really bad. Not that I didn't like the kids, but sometimes if all the right cards aligned and the right students were all there at the same time - I'm convinced nobody learned anything because all I was doing was managing behavior (again I know that's really really bad). BUT now with her there we have 95% compliance almost always and if a student is off task, we are able to redirect them in less than 5 minutes. It's amazing! Really!

BUT then it gets even better, we meet on Mondays to plan the week and she tells me, "I'll plan Thursdays lesson" and I was floored. "Really!?! You will plan Thursday? That would help me out SO much!!" I already do have a curriculum I use for my low level statistics class (thanks to the CPM mathematics free curriculum online and my Mom) that I share with her so it makes it relatively easy to plan. So really it's just a matter of preparing the materials, worksheets, and powerpoint for the kids (which still takes about 2 hours per lesson to do). Anyway, she did a fantastic job and kids are learning! Yeah!

Front of my classroom
I also really like her because she gives me a lot of positive feedback on my teaching. Mostly I receive ZERO feedback on my teaching from adults except for the occasional visits from my university mentor and my semi-usual visits from my in school mentor. (Although I did just get observed by the assistant principal Friday, but have not debriefed yet). In any case, my co-teacher says I'm doing remarkably well for a first year teacher especially with the kids I've been given and then proceeded to tell me of some of the horrible things she's seen happen to other first year teachers she's experienced over the years.

In any case, I really like her and I'm looking forward to working with her the rest of the year!

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