Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – Busy Weekend Edition

Joining up for a quick Six Word Saturday over at Show My Face.  Short, but sweet this week.

End of Spring 2016.  Summer begins!

Although I don’t feel like Summer officially begins until my DD gets out of school (Noon on Thursday), I am officially on Summer “break” (grading is still happening of course…I haven’t been THAT productive)!  This weekend has been super busy though.  We have my Father In Law visiting, Friday was my DD’s school carnival, tonight she has her Girl Scout Cookie Sale recognition and end-of-year celebration, tomorrow my Father In Law leaves and we might go to the fair tomorrow or Monday, and Tuesday is the end-of-year field trip to the park for my DD’s class.  Sigh…and all this while also trying to grade, grade, grade, clean up a dirty, cluttered house (which is what happens while I’m focused elsewhere for a few weeks) and keeping our lawn alive in the backyard.  I got some free sod off of Craig’s List and filled in the rest with some Weed and Seed and we’re trying to get it to grow so we’ll have a lawn this summer instead of dirt with some grass growing hear and there (we killed it a couple of years ago with one of those big pools, so it is our own fault).  My DH has been getting up early almost every morning to go and fish or shoot targets with friends, so I haven’t been able to get much sleeping in done (not that I am really a person who sleeps in much anyways) and I’m pretty exhausted.  But, I’m feeling like I’m getting things accomplished and that means a lot to me at this point.  I am looking forward to a summer of reading, rest and redoing my Argumentation and Debate class for the grant I received in the Spring semester (a year-long redo with tech and supplemental instruction and all kinds of exciting stuff).  So, I’ve got a great summer ahead!

Teacher Talk, Uncategorized

Bad at Goodbyes – Ending the Semester

I am bad at goodbyes.  I was always horrible at breakups.  I tend to let friendships fade out rather than end in some kind of fiery glory of true “Fin!”.  And this all equates to my final few weeks of the semester being horrible.  I used to think it was because I was tired of my students or burnt out from all the grading and stress of end-of-year events, etc.  But, no.  I now believe it is really because I’m bad at goodbye.

good in good bye

I want to be the kind of teacher that has that last day of class that looks like a scene from Dead Poet’s Society, where I stand on my desk and provide my students with a life-changing soliloquy of life and love, lost and gained.  But, instead, I drag in, carrying a way-too-full work bag full of papers that need grading, pass out their multiple choice final (which tests little of their knowledge gained during the semester) and then tell them “Have a good break.” as they walk out the door, many of them to never be seen again.  None of them finding the experience life-changing in any way, shape or form.  They may have enjoyed the class (at least some of them say they did), but none of them are walking away from the experience with any real sense of closure.

Its funny in a way, because I teach public speaking and one thing that beginning speakers are usually poor at doing is closing their speech.  You get those awkward endings with people pausing, and the audience wondering if they should applaud or if the person is going to continue, and the speaker has to say, “That’s it.  I’m done.”  That is what I feel like my finals are like.  An awkward pause while the students are thinking, “is this really IT?” and then me saying, “that’s it…have a good break.” and everyone leaves slightly let down.

So, I can’t change it for this semester, but it is something I plan to work on for next semester.  I’m considering doing away with any kind of traditional final exams in my classes.  No more Scantrons.  No more multiple choice questions that fail to capture the true learning that has (or has not) taken place during the semester.  But, I need to figure out something to replace it with.  I like what this Professor from Georgetown has to say (and I don’t think I remember a single final I took – papers I wrote, yes, but finals I took, no): “Meaningful Exams for a Meaningful End.”  My friend reads “Oh, the Places You Will Go,” by Dr. Seuss, but he teaches mostly seniors and I teach a lot of Frosh.  End of the semester conferences, like these discussed in “Ending the Semester on High Note,” also sound intriguing, but a little difficult to fit in those last few weeks (since I have performance-based classes where speeches are being given, etc.).  There are a lot of ideas floating around out there in the internets…I just need to figure out which will work for me and my classes.  But, I am definitely open to suggestion!

So, that is one of my “teacher goals” for the summer.  To figure out how to put the Good in my end-of-semester Goodbyes.

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – Self Control

Semester end is drawing near…quickly!

I can’t believe that statement is true.  I feel like I just started this semester but I just updated my class schedules through the end of the semester and it is right there in front of us.  Staring me down.  Daring me to continue to be behind.  This semester has been a little rough and tumble.  Some of my classes have been great, but a majority of them have been hit and miss.  Some of that is traveling has required that I miss more classes than usual.  Some of it has been trying to use a new book (why?  why do I do this to myself?).  Some of it has been lack of focus because I’ve been somewhat stressed out about my mom’s health and the puppy and other things.  But, for whatever reason, this semester has not been my best.  But, such is life.  I have done some things better than in the past and others need a lot of work.  But, life is a work in progress and thankfully, I get a “do-over” every semester!  I’ll be making some much needed changes to my classes for next semester and hopefully alleviating some of the other stress in my life as well over the summer months.  The Fall will bring a new start and a better semester.

Despite all that, I do have a handful of weeks left this semester (I will be traveling for one of them) and I need to do my best to catch up with grading and end with a positive note for my students’ sake (and my own sake).  So, that is where I will be focusing my energies in the coming weeks.

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – End of Semester Edition

End of semester – good, bad, ugly.

The good = its over!  I get a break.  And I get to implement changes for next semester.  Always an exciting thing to look forward to new classes, new topics of discussion and new interpersonal dynamics.

The bad = grading.  So. much. grading.  Actually, I’ve cut down from previous semesters based on past experiences.  But, there is still a lot of it to do.  Also bad, dealing with students who are just realizing that they have not done what it takes to pass the class.  It is like they have blinders on all semester and suddenly someone yanks them off and they are shocked to see where they are.

The ugly = my house.  It is a mess from Thanksgiving running right into a week of work running right into a weekend work day running right into my DD getting sick running into another week of work.  Let’s just say, there are some things that need to be cleaned. Desperately.  But, it is getting clean.  Slowly, but surely.  I’ve got three big bags of stuff to get rid of in preparation to the onslaught that Christmas will be!