Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com! Teachers are back at work, so that has been my life this week. I crashed early every night, sometimes on the couch. I even skipped yoga Weds. night, but at least I got in 20 minutes on the Gazelle last night.
In addition to teaching English Language Arts this school year, I will teach one elective class of 7th and 8th grade Journalism. It will be an introductory class. I have a few ideas, such as showing clips of newscasts and having students detect any bias in the reporter, as well as, overtime, having them produce a newsletter. Most students did not get this class by choice, so it will be my challenge to keep them interested, I suppose. I will be teaching more Gifted students in my Language Arts classes as well, and I think that will be interesting. In fact, I will likely take another course on teaching Gifted students this fall.
Along with what I am teaching, there are the extra things they want us to do. A blogger wrote about this phenomenon at jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com. He urges teachers to not work beyond contract time (4:25 each day). Others responded to him that our CAST (teacher performance rubric) actually consists of all the extra things that one has to work beyond contract time to fulfill. Being a member of a professional learning community, committees, etc. are some of the ways a teacher works beyond their “teaching” day. Staying within contract time for some means bringing more work home. It also means not participating in some of these committees or extracurricular activities. I have volunteered for one or two things so far and am being asked to do more. I’ve said “I don’t think I can,” or simply “No.” I have to really think before taking on anymore. Taking on nothing can mean a lower teacher eval score, which means, when that test score (VAM) number for the last 3 years comes from the state, it could even lower my teacher evaluation more. This VAM number consists of a mysterious high level formula that I don’t think many of our brightest Math teachers even understand.
I love inspiring young people, but I hate the politics of this job. This is why I stay in the Union. Case in point: this one week of teacher planning is sooooo overwhelming, I have not even written a thing this week. This is the first writing I have done. I imagine it will be like this for a few weeks, though I’ll try to participate in a flash fiction challenge. So, in some way, a teacher’s right to say no to taking on one more club, committee, or responsibility needs to be protected by SOMEONE! I constantly seek balance. I’ve already said yes to a few things, and I’m making it a point to reach out to new teachers and make their transition smoother.
I have received some devotions books from fellow blogger, Rick Christensen at https://discoveringandsharinggrace.com/, and they are delightful! They are all about Gentle Witnessing, which is something I am trying to do more. Not just keeping to myself, I want to share my strengths with those it may help. Right now, my strength is that I have taught for 18 years under 6 different principals with 5 different schedule cofigurations. I can be of help to a brand new teacher. Two years ago, an emotional storm in my life and family made me what I feel to be the weakest link in my school for a period of months. I still did my job, but I was a shell of what I actually could be. I plan to do much better this year, but again, I need to balance it and rest while at home, write when I am moved, give time to my family and faith community, and have fun with friends and the boyfriend. Sunday I plan to go to church and afterward, see a movie with my son, since he is off. Balance. I will try!
Please visit https://discoveringandsharinggrace.com/ and read a little of it. If the message resonates with you, follow his blog and/or check out his devotionals!
Bloggers, feel free to join and share in the Weekend Coffee Share conversation at Weekend Coffee Share 8/10/18