Away…

So I’ve been busy…I feel like every time I go away and come back, that’s what I say. But it’s true. I’ve been back in the swing of teaching. Only this time, I’m immensely more busy. I wouldn’t quite say overwhelmed, but I may only be a few straws away from breaking the camel’s back.

I’m prepping 3 1/2 math classes and 2 religion classes each day. I teach in a Catholic school and if you remember, I’m a new Catholic. Like this past Easter, new Catholic. And I’m supposed to be teaching an Old Testament class to 6th graders with the fluffiest book known to all of Catholic education and a Church History class to some very disillusioned 8th graders…you know, the ones who have already decided this class should be a blow-off class and they are just going to talk through the class. It doesn’t seem to matter what approach I take, I always have students just talking through the class.

So I rearranged their seats. They are unhappy. Fun fact, in my classroom, I let students choose their seats. I want them to be comfortable. I want them to be able to sit next to a friend if they want. But this group. 8th graders. All they do is talk. For instance, a student was reading aloud from the textbook last week and another couple of young men decided that they should speak out at this time. One gentleman decided to “moan” while another said in a high-pitched voice, “Daddy harder!” I immediately shut it down but I couldn’t quite pin down who said what. Thus I couldn’t write the demerit…even though I’m fairly positive that I know who the culprits are. No worries, we have new seats. These gentlemen are separated.

I go back and forth with this class curriculum-wise. The textbook series we are using is complete fluff. The text spends about 6 paragraphs on the first 100 years of the Church…you know, death of Jesus, Pentecost, St. Peter & St. Paul. I was really trying to give students more, but my delivery may be a bit off. Couple that with the fact that students just want this to be a “free” period and its the perfect storm…25 & 26 8th graders all crammed into my room for 45-50 minutes 4 days a week…

All of this to say that my knitting time and documenting it has been tough. I’m still working on baby blankets. The Autumnal Equinox Blanket is pretty much done…just doing the attached i-cord edging…I had a minor scare where I ran out of yarn because I didn’t weigh the skein…I just kept knitting 🙂 Thankfully, my mom came to the rescue and found a ball of yarn at her local Michael’s and sent it my way.

I’ve also been working on Baby Joe’s striped blanket…He’s arrived already! And I’m only on the 2nd triangle! Life is hard sometimes. If this is all it’s going to throw at me, I’m grateful.

Anyway, hopefully I can keep up 🙂 If I can’t, you’ll know why.

It did feel so good to stop in here and take a little of my load off.


Jenna

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10 thoughts on “Away…

  1. hang in there, and keep mixing things up in the classroom. Old testament – that can be boring when you are in 8th grade, right? And keep on knitting, things will get done. 🙂

  2. Man, your plate is stacked; these are not easy subjects to teach. It was interesting to read this post because I’m mostly familiar with primary school classes only as I used to teach. Reading about this middle school level was a nice change. Hang in there. Can you get other classroom management ideas if need be from colleagues?

  3. Yikes–3 different preps?? That would be hard enough in any situation, but with a weak as well as new-to-you curriculum and THAT age group…you surely do have your hands full.

    I’m a former teacher. In the very beginning when I had not yet gotten a permanent teaching position, I subbed at the high schools. No problem, good fit. Then one day I got a sub call for middle school…I did just exactly that ONE day, half 7th and half 8th, and was shocked at just how unlike other humans the 8th grade group was. At day’s end I told the assistant principal I was at her disposal for 7th grade any time, but please, please don’t ever call me again for 8th. (To her credit, she got it. She only ever called me for 7th after that, and we were all happier that way.)

    I think it must take a very particular kind of grit, a heaping load of patience, and a slightly wacky sense of humor to take on 8th graders. Some can do it and some can’t–and I had no illusions about being one of the ones who can. But seems to me YOU are tougher than you think. You’ve stuck it out for several weeks and have made it clear that you’re not letting this class turn into a free period with a bonus automatic A. The kids know that now though they probably won’t ever admit it. (If they’d really thought they could still win the “this should be a lazy class” fight, they’d have chewed you up and spit you out already.) Stay the course–you’re definitely doing something right!!

    And don’t apologize for not blogging. When you feel a need to unload, we’re here to listen!

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