Journal: 10 April

Originally posted to Ask The Fire, 13 April 2018

First day back!! And I'm actually teaching some set classes in this term, so I'm really excited. Mostly I'm scheduled to see grade 8 and 9 classes, but I do have one group of grade 10's.

We start the day off with the term opening ceremony, which isn't a whole lot of anything. It's an invocation, some prayers and some hymns. Pretty standard fare. I'll be the first to admit I didn't pay a lot of attention. In my defense, it was about 80% in Afrikaans.

First thing in the morning (after oversleeping and nearly missing the staff meeting), I went up to my Grade 8 class and found out they were doing poetry. Over a poem I've never read: Lord Alfred Tennyson's The Eagle. Weeeeell.

So I taught it. We read the poem together, then I covered unfamiliar words (crag, azure, the apostrophe in "ring'd") and we split into groups so the students could analyze different portions of the poem. I wandered around the room so I could talk with the different groups, then each group presented their findings to the class. They did a good job overall, but the whole lesson took a little longer than I thought it would and I didn't get to the next poem in the packet (unfortunately). The students struggled a little with the concept of "my opinion of this poem matters a lot," which is pretty normal, especially in highly-structured classrooms, but overall they played well with the reader response structure.

Then I met the long-term substitute for several of my classes. The classroom teacher is on maternity leave and won't be back until around August, so she's here for quite a while! We decided almost instantly that she'd teach the novels and literature portions and I'd work with language and writing. Thankfully, she announced that to me just before a lesson on Finders Keepers, the grade 10 additional language novel. I can't stand that book, so it's a good tradeoff.

About Finders Keepers: I get it! It's young adult! I really want to teach young adult literature, and it's so good for keeping students engaged, but… this one is far below grade level. For some groups of L2 learners, that would be perfect, but it's really not enough for these kids. Regardless, I don't like it at all, but I don't have to deal with it, so whatever.

After I took the middle part of the day to do some planning, I went back to the same long-term sub's class for an afternoon block with some grade 9 kids. Thankfully, they were working language at exactly the place where another class was a few weeks ago, so I happened to have a lesson already on hand for them. We learned about subject and predicate and I scared them with sentence diagramming. It was a good time.

Finally, a walk down the hall to another favorite teacher of mine. Her students hadn't finished their assigned homework for the break, so we just spent the class catching up on reading. Thankfully, the students are mature enough that we can ask them to spend an entire class reading and they'll actually do that for the entire time.

Not a lot else to report. I wound up with a lot of stuff to plan throughout the week, but other than that nothing exciting happened. I spent the rest of the night planning and pretending I was going to go to bed on time.

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