Thursday, September 18, 2008

10th period

One reason I like teaching 9th grade so much is that the learning curve is so high, and you can see results really quickly. We are four quizzes into the school year - two summer reading quizzes, and two course content quizzes. I'm beginning to get a sense of what I'm teaching well and what I'm not teaching well, along with which kids are listening and learning and which kids are not. I have about 120 ninth graders and had about ten A's on the last quiz, which was not an easy one. That's not bad. I'd like some more. I also had a large amount of kids just flat out fail it, so did my best today to give a stern, honest talk about high school expectations and strategies for success.

My favorite class that has emerged so far is my 10th period. The class is small, as well as calm, both of which are good things because it's the last of three straight classes in a row. I haven't taught back-to-back-to-back in a couple of years, and it's tough. My lunch this year is at 10am, much too early for lunch, and then I teach after that break straight on until 2:15. So I'm hungry and thirsty and tired by the end of those three classes. The 10th period is so good, though, because I can sort of sit down a lot while I teach them, and they don't go crazy. Really a lot of wonderful kids in there so far.

Still, they didn't do so hot on the quiz. One 'A', and about five or six 'B's, a couple of 'C's, and the rest failed or came close to it. One of my favorites, Dimitri, raised his hand to explain it to me: "You know, I'll tell you why we do so bad in here. It's close to the last class in the day, it's way long after we ate lunch, and, man, we just be tired. And hot."

So, that's why they're so good, huh?

I tell them that I don't necessarily want quiet if it gets in the way of their intellectual curiosity, their desire to learn. They look at me like I'm crazy and go back to blankly copying the notes about tragedy and tragic heroes. I'll get them.

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