Sunday, August 4, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up for August 4, 2013: Busy and History Talk.

I thought that when I took this summer off, I would have a lot of time to be productive and get things done. And while our apartment is the cleanest and most organized its been since we moved in 3 years ago, I'm not feeling very accomplished.

I have made a little headway with prepping school items, but I don't have as much done as I would like. School starts in one month (we start September 3), and I feel like I have a mountain of things I'd like to get done. Deep down I know it won't matter how much I get done now-I'll still be working on things when school starts, but cranking out grammar and vocabulary things for the semester will be a huge weight lifted off my shoulders-then I can concentrate on the lit and writing.

Another big weight was learning (about 2 weeks ago), that I am no longer teaching U.S. History. Instead, I am teaching AP (Advanced Placement) U.S. History. I'm excited about it, but also a little nervous APUSH is a very intense class! I'll be co-teaching the class with another teacher (in fact, the teacher who I'll be working with is the teacher I subbed for in my very first placement in this school). Both of our classes will be in one big room, and we'll run two hours of the class (so, 35 students each=70 students IN the class times two). It will be a great challenge to take on.

I was fortunate enough to be able to go to a conference this past week geared specifically for the class. I'll admit that after the first day I felt incredibly overwhelmed. The pace of the class is intense (3 chapters of material in about 2 weeks), and the workload is high (lots of writing and reading for me and the students). I also felt a bit intimidated by the teachers with me in the conference-lots of very experienced history teachers with a lot of knowledge about the subject!

However, once we moved into the second day, I felt a lot better. We worked a lot on evaluating the writing piece. I feel like I was pretty confident with that part, even though the writing is different than English class writing. We also did presentations on the last day of lessons we've done before, and I came away with a lot of ideas for the class.

So while I know that this class is going to be A LOT of work, I'm also pretty excited to dive in. It'll be a good challenge for me, and I think I'm going to learn a great deal teaching it.

Our instructor also reached out to textbook publishers and scored us all a bunch of books! I walked away with 6 brand new textbooks (all different!), as well as 6 books full or primary and secondary sources to use! I've already started reading our textbook, and I feel like the others will just help me gain more knowledge!

I've also started looking at reading some other outside books to give me better context, and picked up David McCullough's 1776 last night. I read it a number of years ago, and quite enjoyed it! I'm also hoping to get through Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis (another one I've read before) in the weeks before school starts. I'd also love to read John Adams by McCullough, but it's a beast, and I'm not sure I'll have enough time.

Other books looming on the horizon and already on my shelves are American Lion by Jon Meacham (about Andrew Jackson), No Ordinary Time and Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (about FDR/WWII and Abraham Lincoln), as well as Truman by McCullough. I also accepted two books for review from HarperCollins that will fit in nicely: The Men who United the States by Simon Winchester (I'm really excited about this one) and Camelot's Court by Robert Dallek (obviously about the Kennedys-I'll save this one for next semester). All in all, I have some good history books in my future, so you can probably already tell that those will be appearing on the blog at some point.

In any case, I will have a busy school year ahead of me, and I've planned out the next month to make sure that I am as prepped as possible for what I can control. This means I am letting go of some other stressing myself out about not making reading progress for my 250 list. It's something I have been fighting (and stressing myself out about) for months. It's time to let it go. I'm j


  1. Sounds like you have an interesting time ahead of you. I hadn't heard of this particular Simon Winchester book before. I enjoy the topics he writes about. Such an interesting author. Will be fun to hear how both you and the students go. Best of luck.

  2. Whenever people go on about teachers and holidays and how easy it is to be one...I wish they could read posts like to realise just how much work every teacher does behind closed doors, after hours and during the holidays to get through a term of teaching.
    (Yes I used to be a teacher!)

    Good luck with the prep...I also will be looking out for the new Simon Winchester book :_)

  3. I'm excited for you! It's wonderful to be so eager to get back to teaching.

    I've got a new book waiting for me at the library that you might like. It's Revolutionary Summer by Joseph Ellis. It's only 219 pages and Ellis is usually quite readable.

    Here's my It's Monday!

  4. It sounds like a lot of work, but SO EXCITING all the same. Enjoy!

  5. "I thought that when I took this summer off, I would have a lot of time to be productive and get things done."

    SAME HERE! Other than moving, I feel like I've gotten almost nothing done. It's really frustrating, especially because I head back in two weeks. =/

    You're going to have a great time with that APUSH class! Yeah, it's going to be a lot of work, but I bet it will be incredibly rewarding. They must think a lot of you, too, giving you AP classes so early on! I took AP Hist in high school and remember absolutely loving it. We were in a combined class, too, just like you're talking about. Good luck!

  6. Your new class sounds like the best kind of challenge. I am taking a different year group this year (for the third year in a row, they like to move me around!) and I love the challenge of the new topics and resources etc.

  7. Good luck with your new assignment. As a former teacher, I remember how busy my life was in the classroom, and with an advanced class your life will be even busier. I'm sure you will enjoy it, though. Teaching is so energizing. Have a good year.

  8. I listened to John Adams on audio. You might try that. It was great!

  9. Good luck with the school year! Congrats on getting to teach the AP class. I'm sure you'll have tons of fun.

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