Friday, June 19, 2009

Taste my own medicine, part 2

Scrabble game picture above is my game with a sixth grade student who had no worthy opponent among his peers during a class last week, and I told him I wasn't sure I could beat him, so we played this game that took us 2 class periods to complete.  (We started the game during his last class with me, then he came back the next day during a study hall to finish!)  We ended finally with just those 3 letters left, on the left.  When I posted this pic on my Facebook profile, a friend said we missed making "ut".  So for those of you who specialize in words you only learned for this game, save your breath.

The title of this post refers to the fact that today we teachers were given our teaching assignments for next year.  I had not expected any changes, but SURPRISE!  In addition to teaching remedial reading and writing like I did this year, I'm going to teach one "regular" English class with students who DID achieve proficiency score on the state assessment.  The reason is that another English teacher (Teacher A) proposed to teach a double-period class of students who did NOT achieve proficiency.  I would teach the "extra" class of students from her team so that she would only have the contractual five teaching periods per day.  It's even possible that my one class of "at or above proficiency" students are also the accelerated 7th grade math group, hence, probably high achieving and motivated students.

Some of Teacher A's reasons for the double-period of "below proficiency"-only class is the extra period would make student think that the "extra" period is an extension of their regular English class, thus motivating them to work harder and work for grades, not just blowing off the usual pass-fail remedial course.  Also Teacher A said these students do need extra time to practice skills.  I support those two claims based on my own experience, and I am glad for the opportunity to instruct students with different levels of proficiency.

We are going to ask our principal if it's possible for me to "push-in" and perhaps co-teach the "extra" period of her "below proficiency" class.  I may end up with a sixth teaching period each day, but we'll see.

So I say this is a taste of my own medicine because just last week I stated to colleagues that, given the inevitability of change, we could choose to be agents or victims of change.  Touche!!! Thus... I choose to be an agent and not a victim.  Even though I did not choose this assignment, the details of which are not yet clear, I look forward to the chance to try new instructional methods and work with different colleagues.

One other aspect of "change" in this new assignment is that I will be part of a "team" again.  In our building, the 5 "core" subject teachers (ELA, math, science, social studies, Spanish or French) all teach the same group of about 120 students and conference often to help students and sometimes parents.  Another aspect is giving graded assignments, though grading English assignments for 25 students is not the same as 120!  I certainly would appreciate both those changes!

I'll have the opportunity to try out many methods I learned from Donalyn Miller the Book Whisperer in both "regular" and "remedial" instructional settings!  I have ideas cooking already...


only a movie said...

I was involuntarily reassigned for this past school year and it was a lovely change of pace. I like to change things up in the classroom).

Hope you have a happy summer vacation!

Anonymous said...

That's awsome.. I could never get past a few words in Scrabble.

Teacher said...

I stumbled upon The Book Whisperer and loved it. As a new teacher I must say I was a closet reader of this book. It is not one of the classic reading teacher texts and I always felt I was being a bit risky. Silly I know but wanted to share a thank you to someone who read it also!!! Keep blogging you are a gem.