Rookie Year: Day 112 Or Pollen. Pollen Everywhere.

I don’t know if the stress of teaching lowers my immune system or what is going on, but I can’t seem to stay healthy. I’ve been a sweaty-fevered mess all day. Also the pollen is out here in South Carolina and everyone seems to be affected. I can’t tell if how I am feeling is only allergies or if I have caught some kind of cold but it’s definitely frustrating.

I could tell that it was affecting some of my students as well. There were lots of sniffles and requests for drinks of water today.

I kind of winged an idea in class today for first block and then repeated it to varying degrees of non-success afterwards. The current unit we are in is polynomials and thankfully there is enough time that I finally don’t feel too much of a time crunch and can take 2-3 days on each idea. Currently we are just working on classifying polynomials by degree and number of terms. Today was the second day for that, and since there is not too much information past definitions and vocabulary, the students who have been paying attention and trying in class have mostly gotten it. Those who haven’t are still struggling and I’m not sure what to do for them since they essentially refuse to engage in any of the activities I have planned.

So for today’s plan we played Kahoot to review, then I explicitly reviewed the new material we learned by asking for volunteers and then cold-calling for definitions and terms. Then a Desmos card sort activity that I created this morning and finally a practice quiz.

The winged idea was to have the students trade and grade each other’s quizzes and then I went through the roster and asked each student to answer the questions. This worked really well for the first block. They all traded and then all paid attention as each person shared their answers.

It went miserably the last two blocks. I had students who would not stop talking while I was asking for answers. I called students out by name. I gave them my best “teacher look”. I asked students to sit in the hall. I gave detentions. They just did not get the message. I am guessing part of it was that I was not feeling good, but it was a negative feedback loop. I don’t feel good so it is harder to discipline and then the students don’t behave as well so I feel worse and so on.

However I have been getting better at administering discipline in a calm detached voice. I managed to get my 5/6 block to calm down just by lowering my voice and speaking in a very even and measured tone. They could tell that I was not happy with their behavior.

Overall my classes are still better and less stressful than last semesters, but I feel like the behavior has gotten looser in my last two blocks and I’m not sure what has changed. This was also my frustration in the previous semester, it seems that how well a class behaves sometimes has zero correlation with what I have been doing lately.

I have to go tutor and I’m ready to go home.

Thanks for reading.

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