Friday, September 12, 2014

Week 1 (and Week 2)

Wow.  The first day was only four days, but it felt more like four weeks!


Side note:  What is funny is that I actually began this blog post last Friday morning.  Now I'm finishing Friday afternoon . . . one week later.  That's how crazy the first nine days of school were.


Tuesday was a loooong day.  I'm getting used to not having second block prep, which I've had for about 6 or 7 years now.  I had grown accustom to preparing for first block and then having all of second block to get ready for third and fourth blocks.

Now, though, the day is an insane rush right up until 1:30.  That means having everything ready to go by the time class starts at 8:20 because before I know it, the day is essentially over.  Now I know my friends out in the real world are shaking their heads and thinking, poor guy he has to "work" from 8:20-1:30.  Must be tough.

I don't mean it that way at all.  What I mean is that it isn't easy having 20 plus kids relying on you for all of those hours!  That's taxing.  But totally worth it.

I just have to adjust to the new schedule.

On Tuesdays, I also have to travel to UND.  So as soon as I could, I left to pick Kenz up from school, grab Cash from daycare, then drop them off with KoKo, and bolt for GF.

Then I had my Teaching and Learning 250 class from 5-8.

By the time I got home my legs were aching and my feet were killing me.  So much for wearing flip flops all summer and teaching at the ALC for a mere four hours a day!

After the mad rush of the first day, things settled down and I found my groove.

Here is what I'm teaching first semester.

First block, Lit and Lang 9R.  This is not necessarily a remedial Lit class.  Students who struggled on the NWEA or MCA were placed in here hoping that a highly engaging environment - along with having a para in the room - will get them more interested in working on the vital skills in lit and lang.

So far we have read "The Monkey's Paw," "The Necklace," and just yesterday "The Most Dangerous Game."  We haven't done anything revolutionary.  We're just focusing on the elements of plot and irony.

But I promised them on the first day that this would be the best English class they've ever had.

So I better hold up my end of the bargain.

But that is easy to do considering some of the pieces we will be reading: "The Necklace," "The Most Dangerous Game," "Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy?," "Lamb to the Slaughter," "The Storm," and that's just the first two weeks!

Second block brings one of my all time favorite classes: College Composition 1.

We spent the first week focusing on the writing process, namely the descriptive essay.

This week we finally started looking at some literature.  On top of that we started applying some literary lenses - historicism, reader response, and feminism - to the works.

The only struggle is trying to get all of their drafts read and back to them on time.

My final class of the day is another one of my all time favorites: College Comp 2.

Traditionally, I've started with Mark Bauerlein's The Dumbest Generation.  However, someone spoke to me over Labor Day weekend, and I decided to can that and go with Cal Newport's So Good They Can't Ignore You.  My principal just okayed my request for funds to get 25 classroom copies.

I was compelled to go with this new text instead of The Dumbest Generation because while it's great analyzing how millennials do (and don't) prove Bauerlein correct, but I felt a greater need to get them college and career ready.  Thus, I made the decision to go with Newport's book.

Plus, Newport's book is a great contrast to one book they all ready in College Comp: Sir Ken Robinson's The Element, which posits that you need to follow your passion in order to have work that really matters.

And I adamantly believe that, but Newport takes a different approach to work with passion: he argues that passion is a byproduct.

Newport argues that the only way to love (or have passion for your work) is to become really, really good at it.  He calls this "career capital."  It breaks down like this - in order to build up career capital, you have to acquire rare and valuable skills through deliberately practicing them (in other words, becoming so damn good they can't ignore you).  When you have mastered rare and valuable skills, you are then able to gain "career capital."  This allows you to exchange it for work that leads to passion as a result of these three things: impact, freedom, and control.  In all types of professions, Newport has studied those who exhibit passion and love what they do.

In all instances, he found those workers with a great amount of impact, freedom, and control over their work.  Newport found that the more rare and valuable skills you master, a funny thing happens: the more impact, freedom, and control you get!

I had to impart this concept to my students not only to apply it to the rest of their senior year, but to also have them apply it to college.

Now, though, we are done with the book and students will be presenting lesson plans based on the final two parts of the book to the class on Monday and Tuesday, I am thinking about our next book, which I'm thinking might just be Sally Hogshead's How the World Sees You.

I can hardly wait!

#living the dream!

No comments: