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Don't Panic: I'm a Teacher

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Reading Specialist

The “Writing Autobiography”: A New Tradition?

Over the next week or so of classes, I’ll be asking my students to write their “Writing Autobiography.” I used to ask them to write me their mini autobiographies and, while I loved reading them, it now feels intrusive to ask my students to tell me their life stories right off the bat. I want to build some trust first. Let’s face it: Writing can be brutal.  Everyone has gotten negative feedback about their writing, and that can REALLY damage a person’s willingness to give it another shot. On the other hand, we also get praise from audiences who like our writing.

I want my kids to write about the good, the bad,  and to start thinking about possibilities.

Continue reading “The “Writing Autobiography”: A New Tradition?”

August 1(Don’t) Panic: a #celebration Saturdays post.

Today is August 1st, which honestly is causing me more than a little anxiety. This weekend is my last two days of actual summer vacation.

I teach in an ABE (adult basic education) program designed to support adults on their way to passing the GED. Classes are on Tuesdays, but we have orientation on Monday.

On Tuesday, I’m also attending mentor training. For the first time, I will be someone’s official mentor (it’s official when you get paid a stipend for it, I think). I mentored teachers at my old school, but that was much more along the lines of how to teach so as to minimize pencils being thrown at your back. That school wasn’t very supportive of teachers, or students if I’m honest. But I digress…

Anxiety fills me because I haven’t read all the books I wanted to this summer. There’s still a shelf full of books, and I know for a fact that I can’t get through them in time.

I’m a bit panicked because I’m starting a writing center and I haven’t yet begun writing lesson plans for the tutors.

I am also new to the school management team this year. I now have to actually know things.

Psst my mind whispers, this is supposed to be a celebration Saturday post. Yes yes, I’m getting to that.

My roommate and I agreed once that if I have a superpower, it is the ability to put a positive spin on anything. I think it comes from being a middle child and being, at my core, a people-pleaser. I’m an optimistic realist.

So, while it won’t stop me from stressing, let’s reframe my anxiety into celebrations, shall we?

1. I love my ABE classes. Working with adults is such a joy! They come into class with a different attitude than teenagers. They ask questions, they want feedback, and they have an ultimate goal. I work with awesome teachers who are supportive of each other and our adult students.

2. We will have a new reading specialist at my school! I’m looking forward to showing her or him the ropes and introducing our diverse students. I know I can be a supportive mentor who inspires creativity, because I have friend who was once my mentee who has become a fantastic teacher. This will be great!

3. No, I didn’t get through my completely unrealistic stack of summer reading. I never will read all the books I want to read: it is just not possible. And that’s okay! What a pleasure to know that I can quite literally never run out of good books to read! Also, I read a lot of good books, and there will be more good books to come!

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4. I haven’t written the lesson plans because I haven’t met my students yet. I’m a lucky teacher: none of the classes I teach have a set curriculum. I create a framework at the start of the year for what I think my students will need, and then I adapt and plan lessons according to my kids. I get to personalize my educational practices. All I can do at this point is create goals. After I meet the students, my hard work begins.

5. I get to be on the school management team. I get to know the inside scoop and plan on working with teachers based on the things we discuss. I can be a real leader. Because I actually do know things.

Today, I celebrate the last two weeks of summer, in which I can focus on preparations while still finding time to go to the pool. I celebrate two more weeks of binge watching TV shows that I’ll inevitably miss during the school year.

What are you celebrating today? Thanks to Ruth Ayers for the Celebrate Link Up.

 

Discover. Play. Build.

I was invited to participate in PopSugar’s “2015 Reading Challenge” by my sister in-law’s sister, and a group of us have been keeping up with it in a FB group. It’s been a great way to compete and force myself to read more than my typical genres.
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The “Don’t Panic” Philosophy of Teaching

My new students file in, not sure of why they’re in my class. It’s not English: it’s an “elective,” but they’re not allowed to drop it. Most of them found me on their schedule without any explanation from anyone (Yay for unpleasant surprises!). They might have heard that my class is for people who can’t read. They might have heard that my class is easy. In any case, there’s confusion and, often, there is anger masking embarrassment. For high schoolers, being in a reading class can be a badge of shame: their eyes dart around the room, looking for a way out.

One of the things they will see as they desperately try to figure out what they’re doing here is an 8×11.5 bright yellow page that says, simply, “Don’t Panic.” Continue reading “The “Don’t Panic” Philosophy of Teaching”

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