A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The little things

Dale Carnegie has a chapter in How to Win Friends and Influence People entitled "Don't Let the Beetles Get You Down." The point is, even the smallest insect can fell the mightiest oak. That's what I am trying to avoid: I don't want the little things to pull me down.

Carrie, the mom to be that I am taking over for until the end of the school year, has assembled a binder with everything I need for the next two weeks, a folder on the share drive with two weeks of plans with activities for the SmartBoard, a crate full of copies in order, ready to go, and classes that were well managed. That really helped, because I was not able to take over until today, for scheduling / paperwork reasons, and I was not able to procure the binder until this morning. I struggled a little to interpret the plans on the fly, which can be difficult to do.

Probably the most difficult thing and biggest time and energy wasters were confusion about the block schedules. I spent all day worrying that I might not be in the right place at the right time, or might not know where to go in the future, because of all of the permutations with the schedule -- hours, I wasted while trying to get control over my calendar. To be honest, I still do not fully understand the block schedules, but at least I know what questions to ask. Why is it called an "odd day" or an "even" day? Can "odd" or "even" days fall on any day of the week, i.e., on different days of the week for different weeks? Fortunately, students were taking an assessment, so there really wasn't any teaching required, only administration.

Meanwhile, students turned in homework that was due yesterday, as they were absent. I'm not quite sure I have a complete handle on the paper flow.

Another thing was that I did not get my computer until this morning because of a paperwork problem with the central office, so I was not able to get to the share drive or review email promptly, or ensure that the online test was available for students to take. Fortunately, Han and other members of the team made sure that the tests were available, so it was smooth sailing as far as proctoring the exam -- I am impressed by how considerate the team has been.

Tomorrow, I'll get access to the share drive and other resources, so I'll be able to take better advantage of my planning time, instead of wasting hours upon hours just trying to figure out the block schedules. Actually, I have a ton of exams and "workspaces" to grade. The procedures were clear: per Carrie's instructions, I reminded students that they would get 1 point for every workspace where they showed work in the workspace, which meant either providing an explanation, working out the problem, or showing attributes or non attributes that justifiedtheir selection, as opposed to simply restating the problem or the answer choice.

With a field trip scheduled for Thursday, and with so much variance in the number of students who finished versus still need to finish, as well as administrative challenges of "bubbling" in practice tests, one teacher made a point that it made sense to not start the next unit next week. The Advanced classes, are ready to forge ahead, other than a few stragglers, so I am not sure what the team will decide.