Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Trimester 3

This week begins the final trimester of the 2011-2012 school year. It also brings two big changes for me: teaching high school health and coaching track and field. Day 1 was overwhelming and day 2 is getting better. At least it's getting better on the track after school.

I taught 9th grade health for two years on the block schedule. The block schedule stunk at the time - two periods smooshed together. Now, I would kill to have a block schedule. Or perhaps a period and a half. The kids seem to be pretty low in reading, which makes it hard to move through everything I need to get through in one class period.

I thought that teaching health would be a piece of cake - the regular health teacher has every day planned out throughout each unit during the trimester. Sweet! All I have to do is follow what she's doing every day. Um, no. She has so much jam-packed into each day that it is impossible for the kids to get everything done. I have at least four needy special ed students and no paras. Just to help the lower level kids would take me the whole hour.

I feel like I'm thrown into this classroom for a whirlwind 50 minutes and never get a chance to catch my breath. At the end of the hour I feel as if I've accomplished absolutely nothing. I never felt this way when I taught 9th grade health. I never even felt this way when I taught 6th and 7th grade health. I always had organization rule my classroom. I think to feel that organization again I need to put the kids in rows alphabetical order. There are chatty, low functioning kids in the back and that is not conducive to anyone's learning.

The other health teacher lets the kids pick where they want to sit. Then, depending on where they sit, they are put into groups of four for group work. I am not liking this group work schtick. The kids sit and talk and the ones that want to work and get things done do it and ignore the kids who aren't doing anything. The higher functioning kids shouldn't have to deal with the kids who are goofing around. Do your own work, get things done, be quiet. If a kid can't concentrate with his peers around him, remove him so he can get work done on his own. I've done this before and I'll do it again. If you can't handle group work, you go somewhere to work on it alone.

I need to feel comfortable in the classroom in order to even recognize which kids need to be separated. Right now I'm so frustrated and overwhelmed that I can't even conduct decent classroom management. I hate it! I'm debating eating lunch in the health room just so I can process what I need to go over that day in peace.

But then at the end of the day, things are not as bad as I thought they would be. Today was the second day of the track and field season and we were OUTSIDE! It was in the 60s and beautiful. Towards the end of practice it clouded over a little and became a little more windy. Today was a "hard and short" practice, which means tomorrow will be a "long and easy" day. The kids are going to be hella sore tomorrow. And yes, I just said "hella". We did a warm up, 30-yard acceleration/30-yard sprint/30-yard deceleration (about 10x), and then abs. The kids ran two laps around the track to warm up and then two laps of the track at the end of practice. For just the second day of practice, I feel sorry for the poor little 7th and 8th graders from the junior high!

There are a lot of coaches and while talking with one of the head coaches today, I was made to feel more at ease about my role as an assistant coach. Help out - do what they tell me to do - work with the junior high kids - keep it fun for them. I can do that. I can really do that for the amount of the stipend they are paying me. It's more than I received for tennis!

I was going to run my mile around the track after practice, but my capris were down in my office. So I decided to go back to Josh's and run my mile down Victory. I walked six minutes to my starting point and huffed and puffed to a 13:33 mile. It was about a minute faster than the first time I ran that mile so I'll take it. Tomorrow I'm planning to run my mile and then interval run 1 min run to 2 min walk on the way back. I'll work my way up to the 7k that I have to suffer through on Saturday. Hopefully I will be a little bit more ready for that feat after pushing myself this week.

I think it's going to be a much better week than I had originally thought - highs in the 70s, building up my running (huffing and puffing, aka the Byron Shuffle) tolerance, and hanging out on the track. Bring it on!

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