Things I’m thinking about these days:
Trying to stay on top of grading. I feel like I’m behind on grading. Students keep asking about their grades (which are not quite up to date). And I feel like every day I don’t hand back a graded quiz, homework or project is a day where the feedback becomes less timely and less helpful. That being said, I have a solid block of grading time ahead of me tonight and I know which quizzes/projects and classes to prioritize. I also try and grade with other teacher friends to keep me on track (though admittedly, I spent this time planning today, which leads me to…)
Trying to stay on top of planning: Fortunately, this unit (area) is based on a unit that my curriculum partner inherited from another (fantastic) teacher two years ago (we are writing/revising this 2-year curriculum as we go). So while we’re still planning day-to-day, we have a stronger sense of what we’re doing. We’re about to plan a reciprocal teaching day (her students teach mine and vice versa) and a unit project, which shouldn’t be as intense as the previous unit, but should still be engaging (I hope). I’m trying to be better about fleshing out day-to-day lesson plans. This helps me think better on my feet and helps me better connect what we’re doing now to what we will be doing in a few days.
Language Support: I go back and forth on how I’m doing in this area. Sometimes I think I’m oversupporting students in their native language (either by speaking to them in Spanish or putting them next to a student who can translate) and sometimes I think most of the struggles in class are due to a lack of language support. I think I’m finding a balance and I know which students I can push and where. At the very least, I am expecting them to be able to say important vocabulary words and numbers in English. (for context, my entire school is English Language Learners)
Metaphors: There are so many metaphors for the stage of the first year that I’m at now. The math teacher in me tries to relate everything to whether the graph of how I feel is concave up or down (I think the second derivative is positive now). I may have texted a friend that the honeymoon between my students and me was over, but we’re comfortable putting our feet up on the table and eating cold pizza. I think the best description is from a fellow first year teacher who said that he had struggled for a few weeks and although he didn’t quite have everything under control, he felt like he could see where he and his classroom needed to be in a few months. Which I think is a good description of where I feel like I’m at, too.