Monday, September 25, 2017
Monday, September 18, 2017
I know his teacher fairly well, but I'm not saying that in a positive way. Knowing what a lazy grader she is, I was surprised to see that she gave the class a relatively detailed rubric for the in-class essay.
"Okay, do you know what the essay topics are that you might cover?" I asked.
Yes, he did. The teacher had given them a list of possible topics, and mentally I blessed her for not leaving the students entirely in the dark.
"She says it has to be a five-paragraph essay," he said hesitantly.
"So, okay - wait, what?"
"A five-paragraph essay," he repeated.
I looked at him, aghast. "How long are your classes?"
"Uh, it'll be 45 minutes that day, because of the assembly. And she says we need 3 pieces of quoted evidence per paragraph."
"Okay," I said. "Can you use your book?"
He looked relieved. "I asked that too, but she said no."
So, in 45 minutes, the teacher is expecting the class to crank out a five paragraph essay with 15 pieces of quoted evidence in it? That's some high expectations, in my opinion; so high, in fact, that I was surprised she didn't already have a nosebleed.
"Are you supposed to memorize the quotes?" I asked.
He shrugged. "She says we can't paraphrase. Then she told us not to worry about it. I mean, she actually said that if we didn't have it all, we'd get points taken off, but not to worry about it. She says we don't need a really high grade for this first test."
They don't, huh? Wow, this teacher is incredibly helpful, precise and insightful. I wanted to ask if she showed up fully dressed each day, but thought it was better not to.
You know what's sad? In my new role, I see a TON of this: Teachers who give out instructions to students that are impossible to follow, or that don't make any common sense. These same teachers say crap like "don't worry about it" because the teacher hasn't - apparently.
We worked on a skeleton structure, and I wished him luck. What I really wanted to tell him was to count on a B for his grade. Knowing her like I do, she won't read past the second paragraph anyway. So he shouldn't worry about it.
Monday, September 11, 2017
Monday, September 4, 2017
Monday, August 28, 2017
Monday, August 14, 2017
So yeah, school is starting in just a few days. In some ways this is less stressful for me because I don't have my typical teaching job at a typical school anymore. No worrying about whether or not my classroom is set up properly, no last minute requests for materials that won't get delivered anyway, and no "Welcome to Ms. Marlowe's class" PowerPoint to edit.
In some ways that makes me a little sad, but not so much. I'll still be working with students, but one-on-one, and I won't be teaching traditional lessons. I'll be interacting with administrators most of the time. I spent a good chunk of the summer reading, rewriting curriculum and working on developing a new class for students with reading comprehension. It's rewarding, but exhausting in a completely different way.
I guess it's good to have change. This is where I wanted to be anyway, but it feels weird to be out of the regular classroom. It's like I'm also graduating, just like my old students did. So I'm happy but sad, moving forward but looking back, and all those other paradoxes.
In the meantime, I ran into one of my old students at Target in town. She looked shocked to see me there, but said she would miss seeing me in the hallways this year. "You were always telling students to stop running and looking really annoyed while you drank your Coke Zero!"
Yeah, good times.