Today I'm home sick with a stomach bug my niece was so generous to share with the rest of the family. I hate staying home from work. It's not that I don't need the rest every now and again; it's that writing sub plans is often more difficult than hauling myself in and teaching anyway. My doctor has, more than once, referred to this as control freak behavior. Yet part of me wonders how she feels to let a really sick patient rest in the hands of another doctor--particularly one she may feel is less capable of handling the situation.
Regardless, while I'm home, my mind is in my classroom. I've spent some of the morning thinking about how much I hate my English I curriculum and what I can do to make it better. Currently, I have no answers. I thought it might be easier to line out some of my thoughts instead.
* Reteaching: I have a wide range of English I students this year. Many of them are new to high school, but their individual educational pasts are as diverse as the colors of the rainbow. Most of them have one thing in common: they have missed concepts that are going to pertinent in high school. So I struggle to figure out what I can reteach, what I should reteach and who will/will not benefit from that time in class.
* The consideration of reteaching brings up another problem--grammar. Almost every single kid in my class struggles to avoid writing run-on sentences, fragments, etc. I do a few lessons to fix these problems, but what I'm doing isn't working and I can't help but think that I'm obviously in the dark when it comes to teaching these concepts. I need HELP. Beyond sentence structure, these kids haven't managed things like differentiating there/their/they're or your/you're. I've reviewed them until I'm blue in the face, but part of me thinks that if these students are unwilling to memorize specific things, no amount of teaching will matter. Someone, HELP ME.
* This is one of the first English I classes I've had where students are unwilling to talk about the material. Cysts on ovaries are apparently fair game for classroom fodder (I quashed it. Have some faith.), but discussing the role of teachers and students per The Miracle Worker leaves them tongue tied. I just keep thinking that I can't make literature pertinent if they are unwilling to talk about it.
So there we are. My recent frustrations in the classroom. So far, English III is going alright. I have some things I need to address in English II, but I'm figuring it out. I'm just trying to figure out ways to expand creation in the classroom. I seem to rely on paper writing far too often.
How do you get other teachers to join and comment? I could use some ideas...