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teachers: now that the year is over...

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ladykemma

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what were your successes?

what did you try new? What worked? what didn't work?
what will you try next year?
what is your teacher pet peeve(s)?

I'll go.

Successes: I teach students who are not traditional college bound students. I teach in a ghetto. Chemistry is now a required course for all students in our state. I teach regular kids, immigrants (english language learners), lazy kids, stupid kids, special ed kids, nice kids, sociopaths, ex-cons, teenage mothers, 17 year old crack babies, smart kids, kids on welfare, kids who don't know here their next meal is coming from. you name it. a real mixed bag.

i have two kids who turned out to be real smart, and are doing well in chem. other teachers say you get work out of them? they are failing my class! these boys want to be chemists /lab technicians now. i have told them all sorts of haz mat, fire department, medical center, and chemical plant stories. It's nice to hear once aimless kids say "I want to be a chemist-- I want to work in the lab in the chemical plants!" they even looked up a special program for chem lab tech at san jacinto junior college nearby - a special 2 year program for chemistry lab techs. one kid may even go to Rice University.

What worked: daily quizzes. easy to grade, quick to hand back, kid get instant feedback. grading homework makes me insane.

What didn't work:

the kids don't read their textbook. I think I will give reading assigment quizzes next year.

5 years later, I still have not worked out the notebook problem. when you and i went to school, college bound student kept a notebook and didn't lose things, well these kids are not like that. they don't realize or don't care or don't "connect" that they may need that paper to study for the final exam so they throw it away. I tell them at the beginning of each semester to put away in a folder or binder. the obviously college bound students keep a neat notebook. the others fling their papers then don't have anything to do for the final exam review. when i give them the final exam review, it's on them. they have a book and their notes. I do not reteach. "no notes, sigh, oh well, sucks to be you....how are you going to study for your final?"

i have noticed that those students that I have for a repeat year are a lot more mature and have learned that I give a quiz every day and that i have no sympathy for those who throw lessons away. they pass with flying colors the second time around.

I can't make someone develop maturity or organization. so the notebook issue continues to be an issue. I have tried keeping an organized notebook in the class, with notebook checks, etc, but all it did was make me crazy and I don't have room. Any suggestions? i have purchased binders for student who spoke with me privately that they couldn't afford one.

What i tried new: foot square white marker boards. chem kids love it to work their problems, they hold the answers up and i can see immediately who is struggling. success.

teacher pet peeve: "miss, what can i do to pass your class?" on the next to last day of school.

"Miss, can i come for tutoring?" on the next to last day of school. "No, the lessons for that unit are boxed up. you should have come then. Your grade stands... if you pass the final exam, i will pass you for the class. "

Students who have been truant for the entire grading period and come storming in wanting to know "why I am failing them".

edited to add: This has been a superb year for me. very rewarding. small classes that were relatively easy to teach. not many behavior problems. excellent staff and co-workers. 2006-7 was a very good year.
 

Skippy123

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..
 

Cehrabehra

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the year is over???? News to me!!!! Still 9 WHOLE weeks to go, here!! Over two FULL months!!!
 

Miranda

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Date: 4/13/2007 7:29:55 PM
Author: Cehrabehra
the year is over???? News to me!!!! Still 9 WHOLE weeks to go, here!! Over two FULL months!!!
Me too. I haven''t even gotten the 3rd quarter report card yet.
 

ladykemma

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i have an "i forgot"

another success: how to reach the non traditional learner/special ed kid. i had great success with kinesthetic games and activities, music, silly songs, manipulatives like molecular models.

balancing equations became easier with using beans on laminated cards instead of paper and pencil.

yup, school is over for us, actually we have until may 25, but we compress the currinculum to be done before april 15. right before the standardized tests. we teach unimportant units after, do some fun labs, then final exams.
 

Cehrabehra

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Date: 4/13/2007 8:06:02 PM
Author: Miranda

Date: 4/13/2007 7:29:55 PM
Author: Cehrabehra
the year is over???? News to me!!!! Still 9 WHOLE weeks to go, here!! Over two FULL months!!!
Me too. I haven''t even gotten the 3rd quarter report card yet.
yeah, yesterday was the last day of the 3rd quarter here LOL Though now that I think about it, holy crap - the 3/4 of the year is over and gone so fast!!! I need a summer plan!! I''m so bad - I can''t even think beyond my ring LOL I need this phase over and in the past so I can move to my next obsession in life... this one has lasted quite a long time! I have a lot of writing I need to do about things NOT diamond! lol
 

crown1

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Nov 22, 2006
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hi lady kemma! it sounds like you do indeed have some success stories for the year. thanks for helping these kids. we need teachers who are trying like you.
 

Kasey3

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Apr 11, 2007
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Hi Lady Kemma

Is your school year really over?? Lucky girl!!

I am a high school math teacher in NY and we just ended the 3rd quarter, and I had such a bad day yeasterday-cheating incident, horrible parent (called me a liar-and much more), AP reversed his initial fair decision-parent vindicated.

So, anyway I do have some success stories, I just can''t see beyond this last of many such incidents right now.

It sounds as if you have many things to feel great about!! Congrats to you.
 

diamondseeker2006

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We have 8 more weeks. This was spring break and I am sorry to say I am not ready to go back!

Lady Kemma, I think it is insane for Chemistry to be required for everyone!!! I thought it was bad that my state requires Algebra I for everyone! Not everyone is headed to college and I really support more than one curriculum track for high schoolers. Heck, I''d rather see the kids take Consumer Math/Personal Finance than Algebra (other than those who need it for a particular career).

I teach kids with reading disorders and my work is mostly very rewarding. I''m just doing too much right now, and I need to cut back on something.
 

zoebartlett

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We just sent home 3rd quarter report cards yesterday. Our last day of school is supposed to be June 18th for kids and the 19th for staff I think. We''ve begun to talk about placement for next year and spring testing has begun.

One of my successes this year was having a student teacher for the first time. I loved it and would do it again anytime! It made me think about my own teaching, and it gave me the chance to pass along advice I''ve been given.

I''ve been teaching in one way or another (Title I, reading, interning, working as a special ed. aide, fourth grade and kindergarten intervention teacher, classroom teacher) for 7 years, although I''ve only had my own classroom for 3 years. So I guess you could say I''m still fairly new, even though I''ve been lucky to have had tons of different experiences while working in education.
what did you try new? Having a student teacher, as mentioned above. It was only for 8 weeks and I wish it was for longer. Where I went to grad school, we had year-long internships, which I thought was such a good experience. I was with that particular class from the very beginning of school to the very end. I experienced everything my cooperating teacher did. So many student teachers in other programs work in one classroom and/or grade for a certain amount of time and then they move to another grade and/or classroom for another stint. In my opinion, that''s not enough time to really delve into anything on a seeper level.


What didn''t work? Well, I don''t typically have a problem with classroom management, but I''m still in search of the magic trick to use to get my ever-so-chatty little students to work quietly at times. I know they can do it but I rarely see it.

what will you try next year? My school only has two classrooms per grade level. The other teacher in my grade (lower elementary) and I would like to do more team teaching.

what is your teacher pet peeve(s)? I think it''s everyone''s job to teach effectively -- parents, teachers, etc., but I also think to some extent, parents tend to be over-involved at times. I don''t have that problem but I''ve seen it happen and I know it exists. I''ve heard other teachers say that it''s almost as if parents don''t trust that we will do a good job, so they feel the need to be involved with everything.

I guess the other pet peeve I have is when schools begin one initiative and then after some period of time, that initiative changes and suddenly you''re working on something totally different. I think it''s great for schools to recognize that certain things need more focus and then follow through with training, etc. It''s just a shame when not enough time is spent on one thing before it''s left by the wayside for something else. I guess that''s the pendulum swinging though, right?
 

phoenixgirl

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My year is not over, and I am sitting in a pile of papers to grade. I''ll get back to you in two months. :)
 

Jelly

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I''m a band teacher so my classroom is a bit different from some of the other posters. Anyway...

Successes: Working on my Master''s Degree while still trying to teach full time. Although the year is not over yet, it has kept me on my toes and inspired to get better. My students have made me proud at festival and honor bands, public and school performances, and through all their hard work and achievements.

What worked: Weekly playing tests that hold students accountable for their playing. Several performances in the community.
What didn''t work: Fundraising for our trip to a theme park this year, which takes up too much class time. I''ve been spending too much energy and time with the "bad kids" and I have let them hog all of my attention. I need to focus on the "good kids" who want to learn.

Teacher pet peeve: Administrators that lie, unsupportive parents, $$ problems with our band funds.
 
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