Sunday, September 11, 2011

I'm a working girl now!

(I'm typing most of these entries after the fact, so they are not in chronological order- ahh- but I don't know how to backdate entries.)

I wasn't nervous starting work this year. I was cool, confident and collected, and ready to prove that I know what I'm doing.

Then we had two PD (professional development) days. After the first one, I realized that I was going to struggle a little bit, in terms of "catching up". I know the theories and practices that work, but I don't know the bureaucratic side, the "do this or our school will get shut down" side of things. The morning of the 2nd PD day, the principal asked, "How many of you slept well last night?" Mostly paras raised their hands. Then he asked "How many of you had nightmares last night?" A LOT of teachers raised their hands. I didn't raise my hand for either- I needed choice c- "How many of you didn't sleep at all last night?". All I did was lay awake and think about all the things I wanted to do, how they were going to correlate to the CCLS (Common Core Learning Standards), and how I was going to start the absolutely daunting task of trying to bring my class up to the 5th grade level.

I work mostly with ELLs- English Language Learners.  The majority of this class doesn't speak English as a first language, they count among them 6 different languages/dialects- Urdu, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Punjabi, Bangla, and Spanish. I have 5 that barely speak English. I speak none of those languages, but communication isn't the issue in our class. It's the vocabulary, and the prior experiences/pre-requisite knowledge. Most of them read on a 2nd-3rd grade level, with a handful on 4th grade, and maybe 2 on 5th grade level. 2 out of 29.  I obviously have my work cut out for me.

I started out this year with 25 students. Then 6 new students from other schools showed up. I have no shows- which may bring the roster down. One student was already discharged, but who knows about the rest of them. Some said they were going back to another country, some said they were moving, others had parents who wanted them in a Charter School, others just haven't shown up yet, but were chronic absentees last year. If the no-shows don't show up by Tuesday, my register will go down to 24, which is pretty incredible, given the number of students in the other classes.

My resources are limited, which makes me nervous. The library in the classroom has about 20 books that are lower level books, 3rd-4th grade level. These kids don't have books at home, they don't have library cards, and I have nothing to offer them. How am I going to teach them to read? How will they built up stamina reading at home each night?

How am I going to do this?!

There's caffeine in my blood system.

Well it's back to being a teacher and a student at the same time- no easy task.

My schedule:
Monday- work 8:00-3:10, class 5:30-9:30. (+1 hour before work, 1.25 hours traveling to Hunter, 1.25 hours traveling home from Hunter) Total hours in work & school: 16 hours.

Tuesday- work 8:00-3:10. Stay late on Tuesdays to get classroom in order, and photocopies made (+1 hour before work, +1.5 hours post work) Total hours in work: 10 hours.

Wednesday-  work 8:00-3:10. Stay late on Tuesdays to get classroom in order, and photocopies made (+1 hour before work, +1 hours post work) Total hours in work: 9.5 hours. 

Thursday- Work 8:00-2:20, class 4:30-6:50. (+1 hour before work, 1.25 hours traveling to Hunter, 1.25 hours traveling home from Hunter) Total hours in work & school: 13.5 hours

Friday- Work 8:00-2:20. (+1 hour before work, +1.5 hours post work) Total hours in work: 10 hours.

So adding all those hours up, you get 59 hours. I get up at 5:30am, and leave my house between 6:30 and 6:45 each morning, so add in another 1.5 hours for the time I'm awake and traveling before arriving at work at 7... 66.5 hours.

There are 120 hours in 5 days. Take away the 66.5 hours that I'm busy, you are left with 53.5 hours. Divide that by 5- that leaves 10.7 hours a day to a) run errands b)make and prepare breakfast, lunch, and some days dinner too, c) study and do my own homework d) write lesson plans e) sleep.

I'll let you guess which of the above gets neglected the most... and unfortunately it is one that should be the priority! Being chronically ill (even when you are in remission, like I am) takes a toll on the body. I still have to take maintenance doses of chemo every week- and one of the side effects is extreme fatigue.

But I'm a hard worker and I'm even more desperate to prove myself (aka, be hired full time and aka part 2, keep my 4.0 GPA), so I will sacrifice the sleep. I'll be very happy when I'm finished with my Master's!! I'll hopefully be graduating in December 2012. If not, I'll be graduating in June 2014. (Only because I don't like the number 13). I will have, at the end of this semester, 12 credits down in the TESOL program.

MA in TESOL program:
EDESL 796- Methodology of TESOL, 4 credits
LING 702- Analysis & Structure of English, 4 credits
LING 774- Theory and Research in 2nd Lang. Aquisition, 4 credits- Spring 2012
EDESL 777- Sociocultural Aspects of Language and Pedagogy, 4 credits
EDESL 771- K-12 ESL Curriculum & Materials through the Content Areas, 4 credits
EDESL 761- Language Assessment and Diagnosis of Special Needs in TESOL, 4 credits- Fall 2012
EDESL 772- First and Second Language and Technological Literacy, 4 credits - exempt!
BILED 702- Foundations of Bilingual Education- 3 credits- Fall 2012
6 Credits in Foreign Language Study, Langugage 1- 
6 credits in Foreign Language Study, Language 2- 6 credits
EDESL 788- Supervised Practicum, 2 credits (Need to have a full time job for this one, otherwise they will make me student teach for a year and that will be a year that I can't sub!!!)
EDESL 760- Master's Essay- 4 credits

 18 credits down, 27 to go.

Update: July 2012: 32 credits down, 17 credits to go.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm on fire, and now I think I'm ready to bust a move...

I'm still here! I know I really started slacking on my blog after I went to Grandma's house... I start entries and never seem to find the time to sit down and type them up. This weekend I will get back on top of things, I promise!

I've been battling a miserable sinus infection since my last post, and grad school started up again so I've been all over the place. My joints are currently on fire (woo thanks stupid wegeners) so this is a super short entry.

Work starts tomorrow, and then the kids come back to school on Thursday. Wish me luck!