Further evidence of best job ever - my biggest teaching dilemma is my two sixth grade classes. One class has 1 boy and 4 girls, and Thursday I had to declare a "Jonas Brothers-FREE zone" for the sanity of the teacher and the male student. The other class has 3 girls who are super super super quiet, and I think their happiest moment in my class so far is when I made up a homework assignment on the spot, and they dutifully copied the directions with visible relief, as in, "Finally, something we understand." Honestly, I'm getting used to teaching 6th graders. I have packed 7th grade classes, in which I use seating charts and maintain "raise your hand for permission to speak" order with ease. And the small 8th grade classes are just very relaxed and conversational. So easy!!!
Last week, our lessons focused on their learning strengths (Multiple Intelligence inventory, perfect for 7th and 8th graders, IMO, except the 6th graders seemed confounded) and learning interests. Next week, we start a Soldier Care Package project, and they all write letters or create drawings or origami or songs, depending on their learning strengths and interests.
As for my high-stakes testing problem... according to a colleague and my husband, the correct metaphor is "hurricane", and I think we're weathering it the best we can. (No offense or disrespect intended for Hurricane Ike victims.)