Monday, September 22, 2008

Burning the candle at both ends...

That's what it feels like.

So far, one of my favorite new teaching strategies is that the students must place their homework in the appropriate bin as they enter the classroom. I've tried variations on this before - sturdy folder with each class marked - but have never done something so solid. I would always misplace the folders or take them home and forget them, and that was that. In this new system, I've got a 12-slot (4 across, 3 down) wooden organizer (purchased from Target for $19.99), with each slot designated for a class. It's worked great so far.

As soon as the students put the papers in there, or shortly thereafter, I transfer them into my filing carry case. There are about 20 available slots, so theoretically I could keep it well organized, but so far, I haven't been successful. But, no matter. I take this carry-case with me wherever I go, along with my laptop, and can do my grading wherever.

That doesn't mean I'm staying on top of it, though. In fact, the carry case just gets heavier every day, and carrying it around is a tactile reminder of my workload. I know it's going to happen, that the work is going to pile up and I can't get to it like I'd like to with a student load of over 150. But, sometimes, assignments that are almost a month old get lost in the files, and I'm not giving my students quick enough feedback. So, I've got to figure out a slightly better system for my file folder. Still, I'm happy with the advent of the homework station. Baby steps, I guess.

In other news, I'm just flat out beat. Not much of a weekend last weekend, and in this coming weekend, I'm trucking down with 60 or so ninth graders to Virginia and Pennsylvania to help register voters. The Obama campaign set the whole thing up and just needs chaperones, and I'm not the contact person or anything - thank goodness - but I will be staying with students from 5am Saturday morning until 10pm Sunday night. And the week will be a beast - a field trip on Friday (hoisted on me last Friday... it's a good thing, a trip to meet Cedric Jennings, and free, but still a bunch of work) and progress reports due on Thursday. It will be a busy week, capped by no weekend. Good thing I love my job!


an old student said...

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night.
But ah, my foes and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it seem odd that you are politically active as a teacher?

Teach Baltimore said...

Hmmm... no, why would that be odd? It would seem to me that political activism and teaching go hand in hand.

If you're talking about being politically in my role as a teacher, with students, well, I don't find that particularly odd, either. But in this thing, I'm just chaperoning - going along for the ride and watching kids because I was asked. Would I have done it if it weren't a good cause, though? No.

Smallest Twine said...

I think it would be odd if you WEREN'T politically active as a teacher. The last thing we need to teach our kids is apathy.

Lauren said...

I have two Obama stickers on my car. I'm slightly concerned some redneck kid will key my car while I have it parked at school. Anyway, I enjoy reading about your class. Could you read my post about crappy students and give me any advice or feedback from your own experience? I'm student teaching art in a rural high school in NC. We're thinking of moving to Baltimore. My husband is applying for the BCTR program and I'm looking in the surrounding counties where salary is a little higher.

Julie Carney said...

Thanks for this post. Sometimes the daily grind can get so strenuous it's near impossible to stay organized. Writing about it's a great way to keep it in mind, though.

You've given me some great ideas for a blog I recently started with the NIFB Young Entrepreneur Foundation. I'd love it if you could stop by and give some feedback.