It may surprise some people to realise that I am an expert procrastinator. What I mean is that I avoid doing many of the things that I want to do due to any number of reasons. Things such as keeping up to date with my blogging, reading, writing, and numerous other activities. And, yes, teaching does take up a significant amount of time but I use it as an excuse as well.Read More »
I did it again. I spent this month writing 50 000 words for NaNoWriMo.
50 000 words.
Unlimited plot holes and mixed up timelines.
I have a bucket list. In fact, I have several bucket lists scattered around on bits of papers and in half written journals. Doesn’t everyone?
For the longest time my bucket list was pretty average. Go travelling, write a novel (I’m working on it) learn how to do a handstand (still working on that one as well) and fall in love (how freaking cliched…right? ahem … right? Still haven’t fallen in love so…). From all accounts it looked like my bucket list was just a random list of ideas…but, this weekend, I knocked something off my bucket list.
I did an adventure race.
Note: This is just a quick blog so I don’t fall behind. Next week will be a better post.
Sorry for not blogging on Monday but I had to have a sick day. I woke at four with a blinding headache which I quickly recognised as a migraine. I couldn’t turn my head without the world spinning and there were definite squiggly things in my vision.
I proceeded to get ready for school (because I’m me and I’m bloody stubborn) but decided, at 6.15am, that it might not be the best idea for me to go to school. Instead, I went in, briefly, to set up relief.
Relief is something that I hate doing. I hate having days off sick because it is often more of a hassle to set up relief than it is to actually teach a class when sick. I know that I’m not the only teacher who thinks like that, either.
Anyway, I went home and slept most of the day a way. I couldn’t even attempt to look at my computer for longer than a couple of minutes.
The benefit of the sick day is that I got extra sleep and, as someone who doesn’t get sufficient sleep anyway, this is always good. It also allowed me to come back into school in a better frame of mind.
I’m not going to lie. I have days were I question why I became a teacher. Not because I think I’m a terrible teacher (though I have those days as well)- but because I feel like I can never do enough. I plan lessons, spend hours researching ideas and theories and even more hours reading about ways to make myself a more efficient teacher – a more effective teacher. Still, I always feel as if there is more that I could be doing.
My average day:
5am – wake up and do some stretches and get the coffee ready
5.30-6.30am – Drink said coffee, check emails, mark some essays, eat breakfast.
6.45/50am – Arrive at school and begin organising my classroom, do more marking, prep lessons and so on
8.25am – Morning Briefing
8.40 – 3.15 – Teaching/planning/duty/brief breaks
3.15-4.30 – Still at school most days – sometimes I have a meeting sometimes I’m just trying to get work done.
5pm – Hopefully home and sometimes still doing work.
Now this is just my average week and I’m not doing a thing where I’m all like – look at the hours I work – I’m stating my day. And, having that sick day, helped me put some things in perspective. (No guarantee how long this will last)
Writing down what I do helps me remember that I also need to acknowledge what I do as a teacher and as a person. It also reminds me that I like smiling and I like helping students and fellow teachers. Teachers have a difficult job and, although most people realise it, we don’t always acknowledge it.
So, to all my fellow teachers:
You are wonderful, brilliant, amazing, powerful, educated and strong.
And this lovely Buzzfeed list about teacher memes
As week three hits I’m already well into deciding what goals I have for myself and my students. These are not to be confused with the goals I have for my self care and looking after myself – rather, these are with regard to my students. The ones that I see in front of me on a day to day basis.
This year my timetable is a little different but I still have individual goals for each of my classes.
My timetable is roughly this:
Level 3 Internal – One main class and 2 one hour relief lessons. (So 3 level three classes in a way.)
Level 2 General
Level 1 Advanced
My goals for each class are as such:
L3 – Critically engage with written and visual texts in order to make meaning with the world around you. And, think about the impact that you have on those around you.
L2 – Think critically about how texts can manipulate you. Think critically about your place in the class and in the world.
L1 – Critically engage with the world around you and think critically about the texts that we study.
10BYOD – Build on your general knowledge and expand your vocabulary in order to improve deeper level thinking.
These goals are all very similar but each is actually very important. I think the overall skill that I want students to improve on is deeper level thinking. There are so many connections in the world and I’d hate for students to miss out when we have a wealth of information at our fingertips.
In order for me to help the students meet these goals I have started a class weebly that the students and parents can check on to see important information and weekly updates. Although it may seem that I’m doing extra work I’m actually hoping it will cut down on unnecessary time spent sending letters or emails – but we’ll see how that goes.
My personal goals in my classroom include:
Regulating my voice more. I don’t like raising my voice and, although I very rarely shout, I have a tendency to fall back on a loud voice to get attention.
Focusing more on my teaching rather than everything else that I need to get done. (To Do lists are my friend.)
Allowing students more time to discuss and develop their understanding. I want them to build their growth mindset and I have to continue to build mine in order to help do that.
As for my self care – if I am honest I haven’t been as good to myself as I could be. Even as I type this I feel as if I haven’t done enough, though it is just Monday. This is something that will always be a work in progress.
What goals do you have for your classroom? Life? Day?
I went to San Diego on my school break. Mainly for the purposes of Comic Con. Yes, that Comic Con – there were lots of lines, lots of coffee and lots of amazing sights to see.
Going on this trek is almost like a pilgrimage but it’s more like a chance for me to truly indulge in my geekiness and gather resources for teaching… (I had to mention that because that is one of my motivating factors – I’m a geeky teacher and I can’t be that if I don’t do the geeky things.)
Many of the resources I gather are not just for my department. I was given graphic novels for teaching Physics and many that relate to history and other such amazing departments.
Anyway – I had tickets for three days so didn’t get in for the Saturday but I wasn’t too worried about that because Nerdist and Geek and Sundry had taken over Petco Park with their Conival and I got to see Wil Wheaton, his son and the cast of his new game Titansgrave.
The panel was interesting and more than a little inspiring. If you don’t know anything about it you need to check out the introduction to the game on the Geek & Sundry YouTube channel. It’s amazingly creative and in depth. Plus, it’s Wil Wheaton…
That was one of just many ‘fangirl’ moments I had while I was over there. But as I mentioned before, it wasn’t just the panels that interested me. It was going around and looking at the creators, artists and writers that littered the floor and then there was all the cosplay – and the amount of effort that goes into creating such amazing costumes is just staggering. I have photos but I will wait for another time to pop those up. You just get the pleasure of seeing a few of me from the Friday. (Special thanks to the two amazing friends who showed me around the hotspots of San Diego’s eating establishments as well as just being all around awesome!)
The other highlights include:
Mockingjay Part 2 panel. All the cast was brilliant and hilarious.
Bill Murray singing “Smoke on the Water”
Getting the tote bag pictured. Check out their website
Sitting on the “Iron Throne” … In fact the entire GoT experience was pretty worthwhile.
The many graphic novels that I bought. I will do a pull list as another post.
And, finally, the Supernaturalpanel. Especially with the Always Keep Fighting campaign and what the super fans did. It was an emotional panel with some timely reminders and many laughs. And the hamster…
I could keep talking about this but I wrap this up now and leave you with a few passing notes.
1. Definitely find something that you are passionate about and give it a go. (Obviously within reason…)
2. Look for the fun in all places.
3. Remember that it’s okay to like things with a nerdy, geeky passion.
P.S. I will try and post that pull list in the next week or so.
The holidays went by rather quickly and, although I did a lot of prep work during the break I still started the term feeling a little lost. Due to situations out of my control I’ve had to have a change of class so I have picked up a new Senior class. I’m not too worried about the change and it’s a relatively small class at 18 students but it’s still a change and, like most students will tell you, they hate change. They get annoyed with me if I change the desks around and they get annoyed with me if I don’t. This does amuse me more than it should and it also gives me some valid insight to the student mindset.
Anyway – I thought I would use this post to help my organisation progress.
I have five classes:
9BYOD – This term our focus is Tumatauenga and, looking deeper, we will focus on conflict – namely human vs human, human vs nature, human vs self and human vs society. We started by reading Ray Bradbury’s short story “All Summer in One Day”. We will then look at poems from WW1 and maybe even some short stories as well.
10ENG – This is an advanced class so we are doing two things at once. We are looking at the same short story as above and the same ideas however I have adapted an Independent Novel Study that has seven activities that they must complete. I have told them that they can choose any novel that has a form of conflict in it. Once student has already asked if he could do Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and I am super excited to see what he does with it.
11ENA – This is my big class with 32 students. We have started looking at a semi thematic unit surrounding Conformity, Rebellion and The Teenage Condition. Carrying on from last terms film unit, where we studied Pleasantville we have dived into Catcher in the Rye. I am creating a prezi that sets up every lesson for the student and it works on them figuring out several key techniques and going through the text closely to find their own understanding. Today we focused just on Holden’s hat… This is on of my focus classes this year.
12ENG – This is my new class and, for this term, we will be studying excerpts from The Things They Carried and looking into the context of the Vietnam War and what was happening in New Zealand and the rest of the world at the same time. I’ve started them on a scrapbooking task that will take a lot of the term – they have to research the context and create a virtual study guide – they can use pinterest, prezi or, if they aren’t computer savvy, they can even make a scrapbook. While doing this they can start framing a research project, do some independent reading for personal responses, building on their general knowledge and, most importantly, learn how to write an analytical essay for the external exams.
Finally I have my 13ENI – this class is my smallest with 16 students of varying abilities. They are not sitting externals so are focusing solely on internal standards. We are finishing up our Close Scene Analysis – this is where I got them to analyse two different crime procedurals and talk about how the represent or misrepresent certain groups in society – most focused on how mental illnesses are represented in the shows. Next we will move onto Connections Across Text.
So there is my general overview for this term.
Next are my goals for this term. If you look at my colleague’s blog here you will see how inspirational her organisation is to me. My other colleague has also done a beautiful piece on goals which you should totally check out as well by clicking right here.
So goals – scary thoughts that I am putting out in the world. Okay, here goes…
Small: Time management – I’m really trying to focus on using my time wisely – in class and out of class.
Medium: Up-skilling both in my curriculum area and my technology skills area.
Large: Still working on this because there are so many that I want to focus on…
My question to you is what do you find helpful when trying to organise yourself? What goals do you have for school or for your personal life?
Peace and Pancakes
*I know that this image is from 3 months ago – I just like it…