Saturday, September 17, 2011

Open House, Late nights, and the weekend

So I think I just need to come to terms with the fact that I may not get to post here as often as I thought I would. I hope that y'all can live with that.  I may not get to read all your blogs as soon as I'd like to as if I comment on an outfit you wore a week ago, I'm sorry!

This week has been the LONGEST week since school has begun! So much happened, so many late nights!

Monday was Open House. I had the opportunity to meet some parents of the students I have. It was a great night! I had the parents write letters to their students so I could hand them out when I notice students having a bad day or just struggling in my class.

Here's the letter (except I edited it to to not say "I can do it.")
Tuesday consisted of a workshop after school on probes and data collection. Got to run around the room and get my heart rate up for an EKG data collection. It was fun!

For the first time since school has started I got almost less than 5 hours of sleep Sun-Tues night. Can you say zombie!? Oh, it made this week DRAG on!

So to say that I am glad it is the weekend is an understatement.

Question- how do you stay ahead of the game? Now, you must consider that I am a first year teacher with hardly No powerpoints, no notes, and no homework I can reuse from the night before. And on top of that...squeezing in grading. 

I'd really love your input because it is essential I get a minimum of 6 hrs of sleep to function well the next day :)


  1. I remember my first year teaching. I used to plan for hours over the weekend for the weeks lessons. But then when the week actually started I would realize that I would have to revamp everything and I'd be lesson planning the night before! It was pretty rough, but I promise you if you put in a lot of hard work now, the next few years will get easier and easier. I'm in year four now and lesson planning is a breeze. I used to hand pick and type up tons of math problems that I can re-use and re-organize as needed. I'm thankful that I worked so hard in the beginning to get stuff together that I can use now.

    You could always ask colleagues nicely if they have any ppts or ideas that they could share with you, if you find that you're in a rut.

  2. I always love your posts. :)

    Oh gosh, first was crazy for me. I had to balance first year teaching, planning a wedding, coaching, going to all the games, keeping up with all of my advisees, maintaining a semblance of a social life... It was tough last year. But I got through it--and so will you! :)

    This year is my second year--and it feels almost like another first year because my curriculum changed. I don't really have a major strategy--but I think the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to just make lists. Figure out logistics--how many weeks you have for each unit and stick with it as closely as possible. It's okay to plan week by week. Don't stress yourself out by looking at the big picture.

    This year, as I go, I make one extra copy of all homework, assignments, etc, and I am keeping a binder for every unit. I know that this will help me in the years to come (unless my curriculum changes...again), so it's worth the extra work right now.

    Even with all of this, I rarely take anything home. I get to the school an hour early and I have one planning period. I typically work into lunch, but it keeps me from having to take work home. That gives me about...three hours a day before, after, and during work.

    As for powerpoints...I don't think there's anything wrong with scouring the internet for ideas. There are ALL KINDS of teacher resources out there--I've downloaded several powerpoints from other teachers' webpages just to see what other teachers are teaching--and I've borrowed a few slides/pictures to incorporate into my own info. I usually just google my topic plus "ppt." Easy as that!

    I think I've covered it...I'm full of random advice, so I might be back with more pearls of wisdom. ;)

  3. Powerpoints, worksheets, and homework can and SHOULD be a collaborative effort between you and your other Biology colleagues. Just because you are teaching some Pre-AP doesn't even mean the ppoints must be different from the regular Biology classes - it means that you can push them harder to understand and demonstrate their understanding faster. Find things online, email teachers from the other high schools in your district as well as talking to the ones down the hall and use as much of their stuff as you can. Don't feel guilty about it - it's just called not reinventing the wheel! Some of the best teaching tools I use every year were found on the internet, and then I would email the resource to all of my music colleagues so they could use it too.
    Also...not every lesson must be a life-changing, creative, dynamic piece that your students will be amazed with for year to come. It's okay to keep things simpler, if you see a way to do that. Yes, put energy into making awesome lessons...but spread them out a little bit. :)
    When you are doing activities that are for review and don't HAVE to give them a grade, just have them check it as a class. Find out how many grades you have to turn in as a teacher every report card. If you are required to have 6 homework grades, 2 tests, and 4 quizzes, there's no need to go beyond that.
    I'm praying for you and hope that there are a lot of things you can do to make things smoother. But like your friend said, the time you invest doing things well WILL pay off. :) Love you!

  4. Thanks for the advice ladies. I definitely can't wait to have my 1st year done, so I have a good foundation of my own personal resources.

    This past week I managed to get myself a day ahead of the game! Last weekend I focused more on lesson planning, and then I graded, and that seemed to help. I've been able to find good powerpoints that are in line with the textbook, so I do lots of copy and pasting! :)