Archive for January, 2014

Anxiety…

January 20, 2014

Last week started off rough, but finished great.  Although it was my second week teaching AP Macroeconomics, I had terrible anxiety, even worse than the first week.  By the end of the week, I had confidence.  I think just doing it for the first time made me very nervous.  Now, having succeeded, I have a lot of confidence in this course.

This doesn’t mean that everything is prefect.  I feel bad for my first class.  I am still working things out and they don’t always get the best lesson, but I do the best I can.  It doesn’t help that it is not a great class.

This semester might not be so bad after all.

-J

UIL…

January 20, 2014

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but this year, I am the sponsor for UIL Current Issues and Events.  Recently, we competed in our first meet of the year.  My kids did very well.  One of my students tied for first, but lost the tie breaker, so he finished second.  The team tied for third, but lost the tie breaker, so they finished fourth.  I am very proud of them.  We didn’t have all of our members at the meet, so when we do, we have a good shot at winning.  One of my students really wants to make it to state, so he is putting in a lot of time.  I hope it works out.

Our next meet is in a few weeks. 

-J

Failures…

January 2, 2014

For the first time in my four and a half years of teaching, I have students who failed my class.  This is a sign of me maturing as a teacher.  In the past, I have let students do pretty much anything to make up their grade.  It has been hard for me to not let kids make up everything.  I am still generous with late work, but I am getting better at sticking to the grading policy.

The three students who failed were all in my AP classes.  Two of them I knew all along would fail.  One never passed a test or six week.  The other I tried to move to a regular class after the second six week, but both he and his mom wanted him to stay.  He failed the first tow six weeks, but did pass the last six weeks, but it was not enough.

The final student who failed was not expected, but maybe I should have.  I had this student my first year of teaching.  He was great then, but has gotten really lazy.  I could see this and his mom told me the same thing.  He took my AP class to be with friends.  He is capable, but, again, lazy.  These are his grades for each six weeks: 71, 69 (which I had to bump to 70), and 70.  At one point in this six week, he had 4 missing assignments.  Going in to the final, he basically needed to pass the test to pass the class.  He usually tests well, but not this time.  He scored a low 50 on the exam, bringing him to a 67 for the semester.  What really sucks for him is that if he would had turned in his exam review for extra credit, he would have ended up with a 69, which, again, I have to bump up to a 70.

I did not enjoy having to call their parents to tell them.  Hopefully I will not have students fail this semester.  I will hate those phone calls even more.  Students who failed my AP class or barely passed are being moved out of AP economics.

-J

Drama…

January 2, 2014

My final exam days were full of drama.  I am going to give the short version of the stories.

I gave my final online.  I have done this every semester since I have been teaching high school and I have never had any problems.  Until this year.

The first day of finals went fine.  The second day was different.  The site crashed while my students were trying to log in.  I did not have paper copies ready (which I have done in the past).  I almost had a meltdown.  Once I calmed down and started to think clearly, I was able to figure out a solution.  Halfway though the class, I got copies finished.  I told the kids to come during lunch and/or after school to finish.  Next time, I will have hard copies ready.  So much for trying to save paper.

Later that day, there was more drama.  Long story short, an AP student had her own meltdown and panic attack, to the point of having to go to the nurse because she couldn’t breathe.  The reason for this was that she realized that she was likely going to get a B for the semester, not an A.  She was worried about her GPA and rank dropping.  On one hand, I understand, because I would have freaked out if I got a B.  On the other hand, she has already gotten in to A&M which is where she is going and they are not going to revoke someone’s admission for getting one B in an AP class.  She is in the top 10%, but I don’t think she is so high that it is going to prevent her from being valedictorian or anything.  I used to be able to check a student’s rank, but they took that away this year.  I hate that.

-J