Friday, September 26, 2008

I Love My Little Ones

One of my favorite students, a first grader, asked me this week why I take another boy in her class three times a day but her only once a day. She loves me and coming to ESL class so she was very serious in trying to figure out this huge injustice in her six year old life. I tried to explain to her that her classmate only spoke a little English so he needed extra help so he could learn. She was very understanding, "Yeah, he only speaks a little bit English. Not that much." The she added in a whisper, "He said that you play games with him," hoping to dispel his rumor. "That's true. You can learn by playing games too," I told her. Then she said very sternly, "To learn you have to do a lot of *homework*! Not play games!!"

I don't know what's funnier: that a first grader reprimanded me for playing games in class or imagining two six year olds discussing coming to my class and what they do there.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Updated Blog Roll!

I was looking at my blogroll and realizing that I really haven't updated it much since I started blogging in 2005. It was so out of date that practically none of the blogs were being updated anymore. Since I started using a reader I don't ever look at the list of blogs on my page anymore. I went through and added most of the blogs that I actually read from my Google Reader. I made new categorizations: NYC Teachers, International School Teachers, Other Teachers, and ED Policy. I'm hoping to add more blogs to the International School Teachers list this year as I start to think about applying for one myself. If you know of and good ones I'd love the recommendation.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Seriously?? (Yes, seriously.)

Today at school we had an "emergency staff meeting" during our morning extended time in which our principal revealed our letter grade from the city. She stressed that the information was to remain embargoed until the scores were officially released but I will say that it was not an A nor a C and it was an improvement of our last year's grade of a D.

We were oh so close to an A she said and that was due to our hard work with the students. And we could have reached that A if the 94% of teachers who filled out the survey hadn't trashed and attacked both the school and the administration we were told. And to think of all the Unsatisfactory ratings she could have handed out yet didn't. And all the times we teachers asked to go home early or have a day off and she NEVER said no. Hopefully we would think about all of these things next time we filled out the surveys.

Seriously. I can't make this stuff up.


Oh, and PS, I have been teaching students for over a week now! Yeah, between my super organization from last year and a lot fewer students to test for ESL I finished my admin stuff in one week rather than the three it has taken me every other year. I'm kinda liking it.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Back to School . . .


Actually, ever since last Friday I am kind of excited to go back. I'm excited to see my students (though I won't be teaching them for a few more weeks), to put the finishing touches on my classroom, and to organize and plan my schedule for this year.

Getting my groups organized is my favorite part of getting ready for the new year. Friday I printed a report that showed me how my students did on the NYSESLAT last spring. From that I can see which of my students will be returning, who moved up a level in proficiency, and who tested out of ESL. So far it looks like I'll have a very small group of kids in the upper grades (just 4 fourth and fifth graders). I have many more second and third graders than in the past so that group may become two either based on grade level or proficiency depending on the students. As for Kindergarteners, I have no idea yet what that will look like.

My big task for Tuesday will be going through all of the new admits to see who is eligible to take the test to enter the ESL program. After I do that and then test the students I will finally know which students will be in the program and then I can start to make my schedule. I usually have five groups of students (based on proficiency and grade level). The tricky part is organizing my schedule so that it doesn't conflict with the prep schedule, lunch schedule, math classes, etc. As of last year I've sort of taken a more relaxed attitude toward planning my schedule. I have 40+ kids to organize into 5 teaching periods a day and all the obstacles of the lunches and preps to get around. I can only do what I can do with my schedule. Not all the teachers will be happy with when I am taking their students out and not all students will get their full mandated time, but I am just one person with a tight schedule and I can't make everyone happy. My schedule was much more consistent and organized with this new attitude that I took last year and I plan to do the same this year.