Journal: 16 April

Originally posted to Ask The Fire, 19 April 2018

I've got less than two weeks of instructional days left at this point, and I'm more than a little upset about it. Let's move on.

The other American teacher went home over the weekend, so I'm the last man standing. Of course, there are intern teachers left about, but they're in the middle of their school year, so they aren't leaving any time soon. Graduation is looming close for me, though, so everything's winding down. Or maybe it's not? Who knows.

I started off the day by running all over the building in a desperate search for a laptop. Since mine is power-only for now (no battery), I never bring it with--and why should I, anyway, when I don't use it? But I planned a Sway-based lesson for my students with the idea that their classroom teacher would bring her laptop. Naturally, she didn't, and since we just got out of a weekend I wasn't able to even ask her to in the first place, so I went looking.

Turns out, I couldn't get a hold of one. But life lesson number one: Sway is accessible in mobile format. Since my presentation was 99% text, I used my prepared material as lecture notes and wrote the material on the board for discussion. Day saved.

note from the future: there was another Sway here, but it's broken now.

So this was for a grade 8 lesson. Their module covers prefixes and suffixes, but since so many students speak multiple languages, I wanted to pose it as “affixes” and make at least some mention of other affix types. (Also, I really should have gotten an ML certification. They respond really well to my best method of intimidation: the stand-n-stare.)

This group of students is particularly sharp, if wild, so I was able to give them fairly complicated homework in preparation for their Wednesday test. Unfortunately, I won't know until after that test if they need extra coverage on affixes, at which point it'll be too late. No pressure or anything!

Afterwards I hopped into the nearest classroom for an observation. This was with a teacher I haven't seen since the beginning of my stay, so it was kind of strange to see her again after acclimating. She's got a somewhat prescriptive view of English, which is a departure from what I'm used to though considerably more in line with this school. She invited me back, as well! Maybe I'll join her later in the week.

Apparently today is poetry day department-wide. When I joined the long-term substitute for period 4, another teacher's class was filling up the empty seats for her lecture over Excuses, Excuses, a comedic poem chosen for the Additional Language students.

I'm going to be honest here: this poem was another inclusion that I don't agree with. I think if we take all students country-wide into consideration, it would be a good choice--certainly rural students will have a harder time with English than the students here, who are exposed to English day-long--but for this school it's really not appropriate. The First Additional Language students can really read above this level, and while below-grade-level material can be useful, I think it needs to be paired with at-level and above-level material.

Regardless, the choice isn't mine to make, and the students enjoyed the poem about as much as they can enjoy a poem in a classroom. There's the tradeoff. The substitute had a very thorough lesson prepared for it, too. It's a wonder she's not full-time somewhere by now.

I'm trying to go to outside-content classes more frequently, so after break I made my way up to the auditorium loft for a general music class. They're working on instrumentation, so I got to fiddle around with a trumpet for a while. The students were curious to know what I played, but I had to break it to them that I haven't played in some time. Little sad I didn't get to tear the horn apart for them, though. They're mechanical wonders. Get some of the back row boys interested in music.

And remember the advertisement lesson I didn't finish off last week? We worked through the last of that in sixth period. The students were pretty baffled to hear about American cigarette ads, and they really didn't expect that the Marlboro Man campaign worked as well as it did. Got them onto their project, so now it's just a matter of waiting for the ads to roll in.

In other news, Maria has a new boarder: Sun, the Vietnamese pilot, who lives in the next room over. His English isn't the best, so I offered to help him out when I can, but he's also a little shy so far. I would be, too.

And in other, other news: I'm done with my last college paper. Dr. Ames wanted one assessment for student teachers, and that got turned in this evening (around noon there). We agreed that we'd like to see LiveText burn and I celebrated the only way I know how: by napping.

More later.

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