I have started reading Tolstoy's Ana Karenina by email with DailyLit. It's going to take me 430 days, but I think that might be the only way to get through the beast. DailyLit is actually a great way to read literary classics, if you don't mind dragging it out a bit, and they have a ton of books available (the classics are free, but I think you have to pay for more recent publications). I think I might start Flaubert's Madame Bovary as well. I think my only problem is that I want to read more than 20 minutes of a novel a day... We'll see how this goes.
I found a great article this morning about Georgia schools paying their students to study so I've been asking my students to read it and journal about it and we've been having the best discussions. They actually are critical thinkers, they just only want to think critically about certain things! Sometimes that's hard for me to remember when I read some of their superficial, shallow, mindless writing. Today has been a nice break from the norm. We'll see how sixth period does.
I realized yesterday how much better my classes (sixth period especially) are doing. I gave out my first referral of second semester yesterday during sixth to a student that just transferred into my class. As his behavior was ramping up, leading to the referral, the other students started shooting him looks and whispering "Stop. You need to stop. She'll kick you out. You have to be good in this class."
It's not that my students are afraid of me, I think, it's just that I have made my expectations clear for their work and their behavior and they know there are clear and consistent consequences for their actions. My new students don't know that yet and are pushing my limits to see how much I'll tolerate (not much, as they will soon learn). The best part of it all is that I don't even have to tell them to stop - the other students do it for me! They don't like to see me upset anymore than I like getting upset.
Teaching has gotten easier and easier this year and I feel really confident about myself as an educator and a role model for my students. One of my EL's is writing his firsthand biographical essay about me, and was trying to describe why I'm not like other teachers in his broken English. I think what he finally concluded was that I'm "different" because I "sit on the tables" (don't tell the administration!) and I talk to them about what they did over the weekend and what TV shows they watch and, basically, treat them like real people.
My biggest problem with working in a big school, incidentally, is that I don't feel like the students are treated like real people - they're numbers. It doesn't help that we're in Program Improvement and in danger of getting some funding cut. I don't want my kids to be successful so my numbers look good - I just don't care about that. I want them to do well because they're learning and because they are getting excited about something and... I just don't feel like that is highly valued because that takes time and the numbers can't wait for the time I need to accomplish that kind of success with a lot of my students.
I have a "date" tomorrow night which is pretty exciting. It feels nice to have something other than finishing my thesis to look forward to. :)
4 days ago