Sunday, September 20, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up for September 20, 2015: On School, Blogging, and Fall Reading.

Hi everyone!

I decided to pop on and write a bit about how things have been going since school is back in session. Really, I'm just procrastinating from doing some grading, but it's been awhile since a weekly post went up that it's a good excuse.

So, school started on September 8, which seemed really late! Michigan has a law in place that public schools cannot start until after Labor Day, so that's what we deal with. It was still flipping hot the first week, so it didn't make it any better. Our classroom thermostats only go down to 74 in the summer months, and since our hallways and common areas aren't air-conditioned, it gets pretty warm and muggy. On the first day, my classroom hit 87 degrees. It was disgusting.

Besides the heat, the first two weeks have gone well. I've revamped a bit of my curriculum for my sophomore American lit class, so I spent a lot of time setting things up-interactive binders, article of the week readings, etc. We even put together a flip book with MLA citations. Overall, we had a good two weeks, but I'm ready to dive into some literature this week (the Colonists) and get moving on content. We also straightened out the issue with the new textbook I'm supposed to be piloting. We were originally given a book with no American lit...and after going back and forth, the new texts are on their way. I'm ready to get them and use some new materials.

My AP U.S. History class is also off to a good start. I have 2 sections this year, so it's a big increase in grading. I know I just need to get used to it again and I'll be fine. :) We're already done with the first 2 chapters and the kids have 2 reading quizzes under their belt. This class is always a little rough-the kids don't know what they're doing and I spend a lot of time reassuring them that it gets easier once they get the hang of it. But I really enjoy teaching it!

My last class is a new one for me-Shakespeare! One one hand, I'm really excited to be teaching it-I LOVE the bard! But, a new prep is difficult, especially when the class has been non-existent for a decade. So far we talked about Shakespeare's life, the authorship controversy, and a small part of the history of the era. The kids made infographics last week about topics of their choice, so we'll wrap up the background this week before moving to sonnets (I thought reading sonnets would be good before reading the plays). I have a really diverse mix of kids in the class (seriously, from all walks and cliques and abilities), but they're energetic and fun. It should be a good semester.

Besides all that, I'm still running our chapter of National Honor Society. It's a lot of work at the beginning of the year, so I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Our first meeting is this week, so hopefully it'll die down a bit.

I'm also co-coaching our Debate Team with another teacher, and if possible, it's even more work than NHS. We meet twice a week and our first tournament is on Thursday! The kids are super motivated and are pretty much running things (the teacher who worked them last year retired, so we're winging it).

I might have taken on more than I can handle, especially with the fall play coming up and me wanting to we'll see what I might have to sacrifice.

In terms of blogging, I've made a goal of 2 posts a week. So far, I seem to be doing fine. I think the key is to write them in advance and pre-schedule, so that's my plan! I really miss the blogging community, and while I keep trying to re-insert myself, it's just so hard with being so busy. But I'll do what I can for the readers who still pop by.

Fall Reading...I'm so ready to slip into a lot of great books in the coming months. Fall is my favorite season, and now that it's starting to feel like it outside, I'm ready to get reading. I have a big list coming your way on Tuesday of all the things I want to sink into, I just need to make the time. I'm working on catching up this week so I can read a bit this weekend. I really want to get into the habit of setting aside Friday evenings and a chunk of time on Saturdays for reading, but that hasn't happened just yet. We'll see what I can do...

Anyway, it's been a good start to the school year, and I'm looking forward to my fourth official year in my building. In some ways, it does get easier every year, but there are always challenges!


  1. I love the autumn, too. It always puts me in the mood for reading -- cozy weather, cozy clothes, coffee/hot chocolate, a throw-blanket and a good book. What's better than that? My problem is not getting distracted by pleasure reading, much as I want to just relax and read for fun, I'm in the same boat as you - so much to do! Grading papers, lesson planning, committees, dissertation, ugh. When's retirement!?

    I can't believe you're headed into your fourth year... I'm so happy for you! I remember the years leading up to it and how rough they were. I'm still in that boat, sort of... spreading myself across three schools while I try to find a full-time position somewhere (hard to do when I'm not yet done with the doctorate). All things in their time.

  2. I just had to give a presentation on the Harlem Renaissance & feel exhausted just contemplating giving such presentation (lessons) all day long, five days a week. My goodness, that's work.

  3. It sounds like you're the good kind of busy, doing things you want to be doing. Good for you! :)

  4. I can't wait for the day it starts feeling like fall outside here. We're persistently in the mid-90s still, other than one cool front a few weeks ago that knocked us into the high 80s. (Really, the cool front part is that we got into the high 60s at night, instead of the mid-70s.) I guess it's better that I have this sprained ankle in a time when it's too hot and muggy to be walking anyway, but I really would like better weather!!

    I have no idea how you're handling all that busyness at school. After four weeks with the boys at school, I'm to the point where I can't even fathom their three schedules with all the extracurriculars and events. They really plaster you with school stuff in the beginning of the year! Every single week seems to have at least three nights out for various school functions. I can't imagine what it must be like for the teachers if it's this busy for the parents!

  5. Wow! School is definitely keeping you busy, to say the least! There is a part of me that wishes I would have stuck with teaching. Getting to share your excitement about a subject you love - there is no feeling in the world quite like it.

    Good luck with everything! I hope you get a chance to dive into those fall reads soon!

  6. That is quite a class load this year! It helps that they are all topics you enjoy teaching. Debate seems like it would be a fun activity to help out with.

    I have to pre-schedule my posts once school starts as well. This week, I didn't get time to do that over the weekend, and let't just say that my blog has been a little quiet this week. It's so hard to find that balance between school and blogging and - oh, yeah, finding time to relax! :)