Rookie Year: Day 94 Or Saving Sick Days

I woke up with a head cold this morning. Not the worst one I have ever had, but a sore throat, low grade fever, muscle aches, etc.

My wife Lauren is pregnant and we are expecting our second child, a baby girl, sometime in mid-May. We were planning for her to come in the summer and we weren’t too far off, but it is looking like I will have to take some time off near the end of the year. So I need to save my sick days and personal days up to use for paternity leave later on.

So I taught sick today which was, you know, just the best.

For the sake of my ego I will officially blame the cold for how my lessons went today, but unofficially between you and me, dear readers, I really did a poor job. I didn’t even want to write this post today, not because I am embarrassed–I don’t seem to have a problem with that when it comes to sharing my teaching failures–but because I feel crappy.

Anyway, my goal today was to teach linear inequalities to my students. The plan was two-fold: use a lovely introduction to one-variable inequalities in Desmos Labs made by Chris Lusto as a review and transition to linear inequalities in two variables. Then I would give some direct instruction on the definition of linear inequalities and have them work through some examples.

In first block we had the same struggles as yesterday. Everyone was dead and no one was answering my questions. I thought maybe the issue yesterday was that the activity was an application and a stretch for the students. So I was hoping today would go more smoothly since technically inequalities were review. But once again I found myself in front of the class pulling answers out of them and mostly having no luck.

And second block was not much better. In fact it was worse because there was a fire drill and then I spent too much time on homework questions and suddenly we were 20 minutes short on time and I really wanted to introduce the new topic today. And so I rushed them through it. I should have just ditched it entirely I think. Or maybe not. I’m not sure. It was bad.

Third block went the best: instead of going at a teacher pace with me in the front guiding them slide by slide, I released them to try to work through it on their own. I got much better answers and student thinking when I released classroom control, BUT I had more students off task and I was not able to gauge their understanding as a class as well as I could in the previous two blocks. Part of this was that I felt like garbage and so I had less energy when students were off task. Just not as vigilant. But I still managed to keep the class under control. Time constraints got me again. If I retaught this lesson I would let everyone go at their own pace, making sure that they all were attempting the assignment, and THEN I would have go through the slides with me in the front and had them summarize answers and talk. This would have taken most of the block but would have been much more effective. Because I was trying to use it as a quick review that turned out to be not so quick, I really messed it up.

So it didn’t go as well as I would have liked and my classroom management wasn’t as good as previous days because I was feeling down, but I am telling myself not to get discouraged. I’m allowed to have an off day and this is especially true if I am teaching with a cold. So sorry Lusto, I think my sample data was compromised but here it is anyway.

I am scheduled to observe teachers on Thursday so I have to prep for a sub by writing directions for the sub, writing directions for the students, AND creating activities for the students that they can mostly do without my help. AND also prepare for tomorrow. All I want to do is nap.

I’ll make it. My complaining it disproportionate to my current level of discomfort.