This week has included a student health emergency (thankfully not serious), various small frustrations with colleagues (ditto), and a sheep-from-the-goats theme: I, and other teachers, gave assessments on which students seemed either to perform very well or very badly–almost no middling performances.  And just in time for the midpoint of the quarter, when we’re supposed to write brief reports on students who are struggling!  I think this means that we will end up writing reports on students who don’t really need them in order to right themselves and sail on, but sometimes it’s hard to tell a student whose attention wandered for a minute from a student who is on a long downward course.

I have plunged into teacher observations, and I’m absolutely loving what I’m seeing.  It is a great privilege to get to watch a lot of different people teach.  So far, I’m seeing a range of practices and styles in our department, mostly very effective.  A couple of highlights from the list of things I’ve learned this week:

  • Orsino’s superpower (or one of them) is that he is a very good listener, and he has cultivated a classroom culture in which the students listen very carefully to one another.  I saw this same group briefly in September, so I can see that it’s his doing that his “regular” juniors are having such good conversations–he has really brought them a long way.
  • Dinah likes to give her sophomores opportunities to move.  During a 45-minute class, they all jumped up and came to the board once, stood for a brief discussion once, and pulled their chairs into a circle for a 15-minute exercise.  The total time spent moving and rearranging was under two minutes, and I thought that it all contributed to keeping things fresh and students engaged.

Today I’m seeing Gwendolen’s seventh graders.  And it’s a jeans day, and the play opens tonight!  The Snork Maiden has been working very hard on it, and I’ve been spending a ton of time on campus while she’s at rehearsals.  It’s been fun in many ways, and productive in others, but I think we’re both ready for it to end.



One response to this post.

  1. Jeans day here too, and our fall musical opens tonight!

    I’m right there with you on the “extreme grading” assignments–I just handed back personal essays where I had clusters at both the A and D level, with only handfuls of Bs and Cs. I struggle with discerning what I or they could have done differently when things shake out like this–keeping an eye on it as we head into the last segment of the semester and roll towards midterm exams in January.


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