Tee hee. It took six homeworks. Six. Most years it happens a lot faster, but this year it took six. The maths workbook is brilliant, I really like it. It has two pages for each lesson I teach: one is called Reteaching, one is called Practice. At the beginning of every year I spend time explaining that the students need to take care when I set the homework, they need to check whether I say Reteaching or Practice. I said it this year, and (as usual) they all nodded that they understood, and I sat back and waited for the moment. The moment arrived today. Everyone had done a homework last night, it just so happened that seven of the class had done the wrong homework. So, I laugh. Tee hee. I’ve found that exploding doesn’t really help the problem.
It has been really odd having another sixth grade next door. Up until now I’ve always been teaching at my own pace, doing my own thing. Now, suddenly, I feel under pressure. This is all self-induced. Miss Esther is very nice and great to work with. We’ve agreed about what we are going to teach this month. We know exactly where we are starting, and we know where we are finishing. We have agreed that we won’t worry about how we get there – basically, we can do our own thing. However, it has been freaking me out. I have a tendency to enjoy myself in the classroom, driving up wrong streets, flying off to discover something else. But this year I occasionally find myself holding back, worrying what they might be doing next door. Today I discovered that this is the totally wrong way to go about it. I can’t teach without the odd flights of fantasy. Yesterday we covered addition/subtraction of integers. True, I used the goody/baddy story I always use but there was something wrong. It didn’t quite work. Today, instead of worrying what they were doing next door, I decided to spend time talking about the lift (that’s elevator to you) in the Mathematics Institute Skyscraper which has been having problems with its buttons. Suddenly, everyone understands addition/subtraction a little better. Lesson learnt! I need to stop worrying about what is happening next door and just concentrate on what is happening in my classroom.
The English lesson was devoted to My Least Favourite Words: your, you’re, their, there, they’re, where, were, we’re, wear, to, too, two. Personally I have no feelings about these words. What does make me grind my teeth is when I have to mark and correct 21 stories, and all the way through them these words appear, normally in the wrong place. [At this moment, maria is now confused that I didn’t put down quite and quiet – as these are the two I always confuse!] We then read a little bit more of Old Yeller (when will the bear appear in the story!!!!!).
Civics, recess, Spanish, and then on to music. Just leaving half an hour, at the end of the day, to run through the assembly a couple of times. The reciting of the lines has got a lot better, the singing is at a point where we’ve managed to stop giggling and feel self-conscious. Now I just have to think about movement. Hmmm, don’t think this will be the most brilliantly choreographed assembly of my teaching career. I think there will be a lot of standing around and knee-bending.
Oh, and the picture at the top? That’s the magic box. The magic box that is going to give all the students access to the internet. Yes, I finally have wireless in my classroom! This means tomorrow the students will be bringing their laptops into school, and we will be working with them. I know that 21 people in my classroom are very (very) excited about this, and one person is filled with a certain amount of trepidation. That will be me. Way back in 1987 I taught Computing. In fact I used to teach the language Basic, and the year’s two projects were to write the software for a fruit (slot) machine, and to get one (ONE) space invader moving across the screen from side-to-side and downwards. The last job I had before moving to Mexico was as an IT teacher to adults with learning disabilities. So, I’m not new to teaching computers…I’m just new to teaching with computers. However, onwards and upwards. I’m sure it will all go well.