I think I need to take a break from blogging.
Yesterday was election day, so there was no school.
Today was rough. It’s hard to come back from a day off in the middle of the week and I’m struggling to find a sustainable strategy for any of my classes. My Seminar 1 classes are meant to be remediation, but I don’t know if I am re-mediating the right skills, and the students don’t take pre-tests seriously so I can’t get accurate data to know what to remediate. So I just pick topics I know most students struggle with and they all do that together. This means the class is mostly a bunch of disconnected topics from week to week and it’s hard to find cohesion.
My geometry is a continual frustration. It is too big. The range of skills of students is too wide. I’m teaching to the upper 50% and it’s leaving the bottom 50% in the dust and I’m serious when I say I don’t think there is any other practical answer given the context. If I teach to the bottom 50% I just switch which half of the class I am doing a disservice to. I really should have two classes made from the one I have, but frankly I don’t want to teach that second class of geometry with the bottom 50%. I know that sounds like I don’t care about the bottom 50%, but I do care about them. I teach 4 periods of them in Seminar and care about them very much. I’ve been doing all day for 2 years (now going on 3) with classes of students who struggle and it starts to get to you. It’s too much. I need a break in the afternoon or SOMETHING. I’m ready to throw in the towel completely.
I told a few admins today that I feel ready to quit. Not for this year, of course. I will honor the end of my contract. But maybe for next year. I am ready to not dread work every single day. This job has sent me in an ambulance in a hospital thinking I was having a heart attack, but it turned out to just be stress. I’m on high blood pressure medicine now. As much as I have been working to lower stress (and joined rugby as an outlet for stress and get in shape) I have been suffering from depression and anxiety and random moments of just feeling angry. This job has harmed my mental and physical health and although there are moments of good, I am getting fed up. Even as I have improved as a teacher, I still feel so discouraged. I just don’t know.
This is the 3rd semester in a row that I have taught a block CP Geometry class and the 3rd semester in a row that I have felt very frustrated with it. There is just too much stuff to cover and not enough time. My students coming from CP Algebra 1 generally do okay, but the students coming from Foundations and Intermediate Algebra just can’t keep up. It’s too fast and/or too much for them to do. I feel frustrated for them that they aren’t given the processing time they needed and frustrated for myself because I can’t actually teach them. I have to tell them sink or swim every day. Geometry is paced by the district nearly to the day. I’m a week behind. There’s nothing to do except keep going, but then I’m looking at 30 – 40% of my class failing every test. Argh.
Once again I find myself writing a quick make-up post for a missed day. I forgot to write a post Friday afternoon and then my wife had a flat tire so I ended up being busy the rest of the day.
I don’t even know what to write about.
Math Seminar 1 did a worksheet on simplifying expressions and using properties to justify each step–I modeled the first five problems and we talked about how it was no longer enough to just find the simplified expression and that they had to understand and justify what they were doing along the way.
Geometry started with desmos and geogebra to do some investigations of points of concurrency with perpendicular bisectors and angle bisectors, then we did some notes, and then we did the balancing triangle on the centroid activity that I stole from Becca Phillips. I have been thinking lately how I can change up geometry so that there is less me talking up at the board. I can’t get rid of it completely–I think that would be ineffective–but I do think that when I just duplicate some information from the textbook we are wasting a little time. I don’t know. I am not sure what to do with geometry. I am frustrated because about half of my class just isn’t getting it.
Three mistakes I made yesterday:
- My assignment on DeltaMath was too difficult
- Because it was too difficult, it was too long (10 problems).
- I tried to do a notebook check while they worked on it instead of circulating the room
It turned out badly. Oops
I am feeling a little frustrated. Today did not go all that well. I am tired and the students are tired.