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August 2012
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October 2012

September 2012 entries

My Public Speaks

So, it would seem that my regular readers have noticed my demanding schedule has affected my blogging. September ends at midnight, and I've logged 46 hours in my little experiment of keeping track of the amount of out-of-school hours I work each month. I'll spare you red-penned details and say I've developed a pattern of putting the kids to bed at 8 and then staying up until midnight to catch up on my grading and planning.

The first marking period is half-over, judging by the progress reports I submitted on Friday. I have some changes in my schedule this year: my Honors 11 classes are divided into 3, more manageable sections; my Drama class has become two classes: an intro class for 9th graders (a really fun class of 8 students!) and a general Drama class for 10-12th graders (we're studying Shakespeare in preparation for a field trip to Penn State next week); and, my lunch no longer overlaps with my Biology-teaching runner friend (so much for our daily walks during which we solved all the world's problems!).

I don't want to say this too loudly, but I'm caught up with my grading . . . Until Tuesday night, that is, when I get 37 AP essays to score. My AP class, now in its 4th year, is off to a solid start. Their grades on their first essays (on capital punishment) nearly put them into shock, but they will rebound. Our students are hard-working and bright. In fact, and this is big:

Montoursville High School ranked 6th out of 500 school districts in PA for our 11th grade reading scores on the state assessment last year. We scored remarkably high in writing and math as well.

While the classroom has been running smoothly, the stage has been going well also! I hesitate to choose a large-scale play because of the sheer number of students to manage and schedule. But, when I had roughly 30 girls show up last year for five female roles in last year's play, I knew it was time to do a larger play for our growing program.

The cast and stage managers are eager, self-motivated students who work diligently to prepare the script, the set, the scenery. This is my fifth play at MHS, and it had become what I always envisioned: a student-centered, student-driven collaboration. It is truly rewarding to witness what the fall play has become in such a short time.

As the first month of school comes to a close, I find myself equally blessed and inspired to doing what I love in a school filled with great students.

Life is good!

Fire Safety Unit

Gabrielle is learning about fire safety in her kindergarten class.  This is the picture she drew tonight:


She said, "Look, Mom.  The children are trapped in the burning house and they are waiting for the fireman to help them."

Me:  "Uh. . .wow.  That's . . . really nice, honey."

G: "Thanks, Mom.  Do you like how I drew the frowny faces on the kids?  It's because they don't like it when their house catches on fire."

Parish Festival Time

Our church coordinated an incredible community festival this weekend! I am so proud of our parish! We have one more day of fun and great food tomorrow.

Tonight, Ellie won a glow stick at a game. Just before bed, she told me, "I made up a funny joke, Momma. Wanna hear it?"


"Glowsticks are nocturnal."

Clever, clever indeed.

Parish Festival Time

Earning My Keep

In the summer, I often hear, "Oh, it must be nice to be a teacher -- you get your summers off!"  Or, "You get paid for not working over the summer."  I usually laugh it off to avoid an awkward social moment, or I say something along the lines of "I am so fortunate to have the time with my children over the summer" -- which is entirely true, by the way.    Another truth is that teachers don't get paid to be off over the summer:  we are contracted for the school year (180 days in PA) and for any required inservice days.  We get sick days (I typically use them to take my kids to doctor's appointments) and 2 personal days (I usually use mine to sing at a friend's client appreciation lunches in December). 

But, as we started the new school year and I found myself working from 8 p.m. -- 11 p.m. on a nightly basis, I thought to myself, "Self, I wonder how many hours beyond the work day you actually put in." 

I may regret this decision, but I decided to keep track, month-by-month, how many hours I either plan lessons or grade outside of my work hours.  The results so far?  (Please keep in mind that it is only September 7 and we've had 8 days of classes so far.)  I am at 15 hours total:  6 in August and 9 in September.

I am in no way suggesting that I am the ONLY teacher who puts in these hours.  On the contrary, I see myself as a potentially representative sample of educators.  I know that my colleagues and administrators are up late (I have the 10 PM emails to prove it!).  I know that many other teachers have even more students than I do.  I certainly don't envision myself some extraordinary example -- I'm quite the opposite, I assure you.

But, I will attempt to keep track of my hours, for the sake of data collection -- if for no other reason than a tangible excuse for why I feel so tired all the time.  :)


Welcome home!

Aunt Michelle, Uncle Adam, and Baby Leann have moved "back home" -- well, to Danville at any rate! It's so nice to have them closer than 3 hours away! I know our kids are excited about having their new cousin close by. Today, Leann was taking a nap in our bedroom (Liam told us all, "Shhh! Baby Night night!") and when she woke up, she was surrounded by kids and smothered with kisses! Too cute! I wonder if she'll like monster trucks . . .

Welcome home!