Sort of. Did you miss me?
So, long story short is that I was hired at the charter school, but only as an adjunct (“for now…” says the director). I’ll teach senior English the first semester (90 minute classes 5 days a week for 16 weeks) and wellness (which, I’m gathering, is something akin to phys. ed.) during the second semester. I’m not terribly jazzed about the second semester – I didn’t really want to be a gym teacher (and I certainly didn’t want to be one in a school that has no gym, so we have to go outside a lot, and I certainly didn’t want to do it during the second semester. Hello? January to May weather is terrible in this neighborhood), but it was the only thing I could get, so I’m taking it. I’m planning on exploring a yoga practice (I think the kids will love it) and maybe some mat Pilates. I’ve got a lot of wiggle room when it comes to what I do in my classes (both of them) so I’m not overly concerned about keeping it going.
I AM terribly jazzed about the English class, however. I’m singularly responsible for the entire class; I get to choose the materials, I get to design the curriculum, I get to determine the assessments. The director (who I’ll call Carrie here) is exceedingly supportive of me and seems really excited to have me on staff, even if it is only part time (“for now,” she says…). She’s really interested in getting the English department on a more academically-oriented track; my impression is that, up to now, the English department has been heavy on the creative / interpretive and not so much on the critical thinking / analytical. In our conversations today, Carrie mentioned numerous times that she can’t promise me anything about what kind of foundation my seniors will have; she even went so far as to say she’s not sure they’ll even be able to express themselves clearly, never mind engage in any kind of analytical thinking right away.
I’m taking that as a very exciting challenge.
I’m also picking up another Freshman English class at Local U. I’m taking a bit of a dfferent approach to this class than I did last year; now that I’ve had a semester’s experience, I’m more willing to play with the syllabus a bit and customize the course to suit my strengths. Last year, since it was my first at Local U. as a teacher, I relied pretty heavily on the “suggested syllabus” that was handed out to the new teachers. It worked, but I felt limited and stilted. This year, I’m going to have fun with it. I’ve signed the kids up with an online writing program that I’m really excited about, I’ve ditched a couple of the texts that didn’t work for me last year and picked up Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (I’m going to have a blast with that during the personal narrative unit!), and I’m going to include more activities and films this year. I’m anticipating a great semester.
I’m still not ready to post here with any kind of regularity just yet; my mother still hasn’t passed and I’m currently trying to return to the life I suspended for four months to care for her. Once I’m back in the classroom, though, I’ll be back here most days, telling stories and asking questions and seeking advice (and let’s not forget about Grammar Wednesdays!!).
I’ve missed you all, and I’m looking forward to being back.