Saturday, August 30, 2008

Laments and Joys

I honestly have thought that it would be Christmas before I found time to post here again. And right now, I really don't have the time; I'm just taking the time. And it will be brief and quick.

Seven days of school has pasted. No. They have flown.

We have an increased of about forty new students this year, and a few more are expected to trickle in over the next week or so. I have just under 50 students.

My non-stop day at o-dark-thirty. I set that trend last year. I wake early anyway, and the most pleasant time of the day is early morning, in my opinion. I love getting to school early while it is quiet and getting my day organized. The downside is that I usually cannot wrap things up at a reasonable departure hour. Often, I have 11-12 hour days at school. As things settle down, I hope to start leaving about 4 pm.

My daily schedule is jammed. On-my-feet from 8:15 until noon straight. Sit for (my) 15 minute lunch. On-my-feet again from 12:30 until 2:15. Then I can sit at my desk and "work" while an American lit class with 22 juniors is held in my room. That was the price of having the large room.

I'm finally settling into more of a routine, but I'm telling you, I have to book-it through to finish everything. Since the slot for English includes everything from spelling to vocabulary to writing to grammar to poetry memorization, I have to learn to manage the time perfectly. One way I believe I will have to do this is to put the homework answers on transparencies for the students to self-correct. We have gone with Rod & Staff for English in grades 3-8. I recommended it and I seem to be the only one of the four teachers using it who likes it. It seems to be the finest and best laid-out material around. Not only are the lessons perfectly modeled in the teacher's edition, the practice sentences have superb content. The word usage level is high, which we need, and the moral content of the sentences is wonderful.

After Labor Day, I will introduce the vocabulary. We have already delved into the first poetry memorization selection, and it is coming along fine. Though it's not really poetry, it is something we needed to stress and selecting it as the first beginning-of-school mantra was wise. I made a bulletin board of it where you can read the thought if you click on the picture. The words are also in the sidebar at Through the Ages.

The books I intend to read with all the classes are daunting. It all looks so do-able on paper, but one look at the pile of novels, and oh my. We have made a start this past week though.

My second bulletin board, which is devoted to history, offers some color and variation in the room.

One of my continual laments is the lack of time for me to even devote to lesson preparation. So much time is spent with diddlely little administrative things. I crave lesson prep time. I need it. And I crave time for my personal self-education. Just a little. Yet, when there is a bit of time, I'm too brain-dead. I miss more-than-I-can-relay my reading nights. The book always falls in my face before two pages are read.

One of my joys this year is another international student. Remember that last year I had a student from Ukraine (he's now in my seventh grade class). This year, I have a girl from Ethiopia. She's been in the States for two years and is a precious hard-worker with a beautiful spirit and smile. Her English is still halting so teaching English grammar is sometimes difficult. But her diligence is encouraging. Get this: during devotions this week, our reference verse was II Timothy 3:17 ("All Scripture is given..."). I asked if anyone recognized the verse by the reference. No one did. Except her. And she recited it perfectly. Amazing. She is so motivated to learn.

Another joy was seeing the sixth graders' excitement as we began The Hobbit. Many of them read ahead. "Mrs. D, I hope it's okay...I read ahead. I couldn't stop where you told us to!" I love it.

Laments and joys. Joys and laments.
Onward and upward.

Until next time....


Carrie K. said...

Nice to hear from you, Janie! I hope the school year is full of more joys than laments for you. :)

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

It is good to "see" you before you get too busy.

I always smile when I'm checking out young people at the bookstore who are studying either Literature, Philosophy, or certain courses in History.

They spend as much in small books as engineers spend on their huge math and science books! :)

Sherry said...

I just stopped and prayed for you and your school. May the Lord of all things bless you and your students this year.

Kristine said...

Sounds like your year is off to a smashing success. The others will warm to R&S, I am sure. What a year of changes, and if this is one of the only stumbling blocks, that would be awesome!

Glad you mentioned The Hobbit. Holly will be reading it this year for lit, and I was thinking it might be the one she would choose to skip. But you have given me hope!

Trivium Academy said...

I want to send you a gift via email, please email me at triviumacademy at hotmail dot com.

:) Jessica