Wednesday, October 17, 2012

6 Week Check-Up

I don't know if I'm getting old, or if the work processes are really inefficient, ridiculous, redundant, or all/none of the above, but things are taking SO much time that I feel like my teaching is getting worse while I try to learn and meet the job requirements.
Here are some metrics:
1. It's taking me 15-30 minutes per class to enter assignments onto the school web site, longer if I have to upload any Power Points that were used in class. I have 7 different classes but the most that I have on a given day is 4 so after a long day at work, I have to remember to come home, log into the school website and upload documents that, oh, by they way, have to be saved as PDFs. 1-2 hours
2. Each class is supposed to be taught with Power Point presentations. I'm getting faster at these but if I want to add any images then I get sucked into searching images on the computer and may get sidetracked. So, plan on 1 or more hours per day per Power Point.
3. Most of the classes scan the text books onto Power Point slides so when we are reading the text book, lazy learners don't have to remember their text book, listen to page numbers, or learn to follow along in a book. They can just "watch" the show. (scanning text gets so boring that I have to force myself to do this.)
4. Create extra materials: gap fills, pop quizzes, graphic organizers, etc. 1-2 hours per class, every few days...
FYI - All the computer commands are in "Turkish" so I'm trying to memorize key strokes when I work at home, but I'm amazed how much I rely on words. (My male counterpart uses icons so he doesn't struggle quite so much)
Here are some of my mental struggles with the job requirements:
1. These teacher tasks are really boring to prepare. I also think they would be really boring for a student to listen to as well. I have lots of creative/student centered ideas but the time needed just to meet the requirements...ppts, scanning documents, and making pdfs, is taking away from other options.
2. I'm supposed to finish the text book. I'm sure my lower ability students don't understand or retain much as we race through to meet the clock, and I'm sure the upper students are bored. I'm fairly confident I'll get the hang of this system and learn to tweak it to help each group of learners more, but right now it's a struggle.
3. I like seeing my students get excited about learning and seeing their growth. But, right now..I don't think that is happening.
Here is what has saved me/make the job enjoyable so far:
1. Journals. At the beginning of school, I bought about 100 small, inexpensive journals and gave one to each student. I keep them and try to use them at least once a week/class. I've always loved journals and it's my one way to "connect" with students. (I still don't know probably half of their names.) I was rewarded yesterday when one of my 11th graders asked me if I really "read" their and I replied "yes." I think he'd noticed I'd made comments and he was really surprised, but I think also delighted. So, I noticed he really got motivated to write even more that day.
2. Hall duty. I always make an effort to talk to students while I'm on duty. It's fun and keeps me sane and connected.
3. My colleagues. They are fun, funny, supportive, and hard working. And, what's not to asked if I'd like to join a Model United Nations trip to Istanbul in December! Duh..yea...

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