Saturday, May 4, 2013

High School Lately

Well... sorry about disappearing for nearly a month! Those of you who are educators know that the April-May time period is absolutely insane. Things are finally starting to settle down a bit as we begin our coast to the end of the school year. The fact that we only have two and a half weeks left just blows my mind! It feels like just yesterday that I was complaining about third quarter slump!

So... high school lately...

If April does not yet have the moniker of "National I-Hate-My-Life-Right-Now-Thank-You-Very-Much-Standardized-Tests Month" then it should! Half of my day is spent with tenth graders who are consistently being pummeled with "this test will make or break your future!" No pressure, guys. Quite honestly, as an English 10 teacher, there is a healthy dose of pressure to help these kiddos succeed on the test. It's kind of a hot seat, along with Algebra I teachers. (MATH TEACHERS AND ENGLISH TEACHERS UNITE!) I have tried to keep calm and teach on, but I don't mind admitting that the week before tests I was working feverishly to make sure they knew everything there was to know about semicolons and fleshing out a valid counterargument while writing arguments of judgment and policy*. Now, for better or for worse, the tests are over and we can finally breathe and move on to fun stuff, like fairy tales, parodies, and six-word memoirs.
*Side note: I don't feel comfortable for pretty obvious reasons discussing the content of the test, but I will say this: I was highly displeased with the writing prompt, and my poor students were highly confused. Oh well... can't win them all.

Tomorrow is the last performance of our spring production. It's pretty bittersweet, let me tell you. I was talking to my husband a couple of weeks ago and I mentioned that I would be happy to have my life back once the play was over. He kind of gave me this funny look before he said, "Steph, this is your life. Life after the play is more like a vacation." I don't know why that statement was so enlightening, but it was. Sometimes, for one reason or another, I forget that teaching and being the drama club director and everything else isn't just a job... it really is my life. It's a lot easier to swallow the tough days and savor the really great days when I keep that in mind. The show this spring has been a great experience. It was pretty experimental for our school (it was more of a variety show than a traditional play), but I'm glad we took the chance on it. I'm confident we will return to more traditional theatre next year, but I've learned a lot through this experience. First and foremost, I've really come to appreciate the group of students I work with in drama club. They are fantastic. I've also learned that they are capable of challenging work, and that they are very dedicated to what they do. It's nice to see a group of kids stand up for the arts... I wish we saw more of that in my community.

I'm already feeling kind of antsy about next year. Don't get me wrong... I am officially pants-wetting excited for summer break. Next year, though, is going to be really... different. I've got a feeling. I'm taking on a three-show season instead of a two-show season for drama club, and my schedule may or may not be a little different next year. I also have big plans for my classroom. I'm going to be making some changes, which I will definitely be chronicling here. I'm also hoping to revamp my curriculum a bit (provided I get to teach the same classes... if I'm honest, I'm pretty okay with teaching whatever they throw at me, but I really love teaching Honors 9 and I hope, hope, hope that doesn't get taken from me!).

I'm trying to get myself more involved in my school culture. You would think I have enough on my plate, but I really do want to do more for my school. I don't know that I want to take on any other extracurriculars (the two I have are full-year jobs), but I just kind of want to have more of a presence in my school. I'm working on that.

And on a final note...
My Honors 9 students get to watch "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" this week as we wrap up our unit on The Odyssey. Jealous, bro? ;)


Have a great week!