Thursday, February 21, 2008

Keeping it positive

The past couple days, I've found that things are generally good for me until my prep hour (4th), which is when I seem to get a bit crabby about even some of the little things. I'm wondering if it is part of having 4th hour prep... because I know that I won't have kids anymore to really brighten my day, so I kind of allow myself to go into that spiral of despair. Sooo... after a couple days of being (probably something of a drama queen) crabby, today I ended with a few exciting things that made it easier to keep it positive.
First, I spent a few extra minutes before fourth hour to plan out a skills-based split-level class that went really well. we took the skill of comparatives, reviewed it as a class, then used the level-specific vocabulary within the comparative lens in order for them to have meaningful practice for their level of german. Then they had a brief essay to write... practicing their skill... and it made sense and they did a nice job. I had a couple kids ask why we weren't watching the news. Some really seem to want to... others I get the "yucky" vibe from... but it's not about their (ever-changing) attitudes... it's about their learning. And I feel like a number of them recognize that.
Then, during my prep, I was in with BR and KT walked in. We got our numbers today. My numbers went up! I even have enough that, theoretically, there could be an extra class... which could mean an extra German teacher for one hour a day (for one semester) at my school! Awesome. It feels good. It was called something like "Rock solid" by the powers that be. Which maybe makes sense after she dropped in and asked how many kids I had in my room (37, by the way).
I still can't shake this feeling that I'm missing something... something hanging over my head that I haven't remembered... Aaah. It's simmeringly frustrating.
Next week is going to be CRAZY busy... so I'll keep it real (short) for now!

Monday, February 18, 2008


My natural circadian rhythms must be toward the bottom of the roller coaster right now. I feel like everything is piling up again... and that everything is super stressful right now.

Then I got an e-mail from our tour company.
They are increasing the price.... by more than $200.

I know that the Euro is so much stronger than the dollar right now... but some of my kids were already scraping bottom to get what it cost to begin with. I hate this. I wonder if this happens with EF.

So I need to set up that meeting for my trip kids. Soon.
Just one more thing on the plate.

And then there's this...

Friday we had a fantastic conversation in class...
All spurred on by the German news.
It began with a discussion of stem-cell research that morphed briefly into abortion and then into war. Wow. Three of the biggest, most controversial topics out there. Yikes.
I was proud of the kids, though. They all remained really composed and shared some really interesting ideas. (Like, "Shouldn't we worry more about prescription medication than stem cells? Stem cells occur naturally... they are cells our bodies already make; just waiting for a purpose. Prescription medication is something unnatural we are putting into our bodies and messing with our brains... which we know very little about.")
I was also proud of myself because, in essence, I stayed out of it! I just got to call on the kids who were raising their hands (to maintain some sort of civility) and one time I summarized what someone said for clarification... otherwise that was it.
Toward the end, a couple students asked for a game instead... they were getting frustrated. They were also the students who weren't sharing. So their feelings and frustrations were just getting pent up.
So I shared how proud I was with the class and how these are essential conversations to have while remaining calm and open-minded. And then we went on to a quick round of 20 questions auf Deutsch.

This weekend I looked back at their moodle entries as well. They responded to each other, made new discussion topics and really had some interesting thoughts! They are making it their own and really delving into some of the deep political issues that adults question (electoral college, what is truth, etc.). It makes me ache for a philosophy class.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Influenza A

So I've got the flu... and after talking with the school nurse this morning, I found out that the earliest I can come back is Thursday. (and even that hinges on whether or not I've been without fever for a while)

I hate being gone from school.

I think I'm going to try that recording on the SMART board thing, though... then my sub could just push "play" and it's like I'm there... that would be cool.

I suppose it's good that they have these policies against communicable diseases... otherwise I might show up to work before I really should. Check that. I know I would show up before I really should.