Sunday, January 23, 2011

Last Preface

I'll be starting the stories of my time in the classroom off with my first official day, which was Tuesday of last week. I spent two days in the class before then, but they were mostly observation days, one of them resulted in the description of the classroom. I didn't include a schedule since, at the time of those observations the schedule was different, with a Chem 1 class that was going to be dissolved into all the other Chem 1 sections and replaced by a Dual Credit Chem 2 course. It was unclear until the current semester schedules were published how the students from the course were going to be distributed and I had not seen any of the new faces.

The one thing I did know is that the lab space is designed for a maximum of 24 students per class section, and all the Chem 1 classes were at or near that capacity before they had to fit a mostly-full class into them. It was a forgone conclusion, then, that all the classes I would be working with would be over capacity for the laboratory area. Luckily, it appears no class got dumped with an unreasonable amount of students, but every class has three or four extra.

The schedule I have is fairly unusual, so I’ll give a brief rundown. The day starts at 8:20, classes are 46 minutes long and there’s a four minute passing period between each class period, with some unusual features in the middle of the day that I’ll get into. Mr. CT’s day, and thus mine, starts with two prep periods, so I have a lot of time to get any demos or labs set up before having to worry about any students. Third period is AP, and my role in that class will probably be little more than observer and assistant for a long time. AP is followed by a weird half-period known as the Advisory period. This is kind of a school-wide study hall, with Juniors getting ACT prep in this time. This time apparently ends up as prime time to make up missed labs, so I imagine I’ll do that if anything during this time. Fourth period is split up into three sections, one of which is a lunch period. In my case, that happens to be the first of the three sections, so I will end up having a lot of the time at the beginning of the day to prepare for the lessons of the day. The second two sections of the of the fourth period constitute the first of the three Chem 1 classes, but it is unusual in that it must be prefaced by ten minutes of Channel One, a weird quasi-educational cable channel that the school is contractually required to show to the students. The fourth period is followed by two other Chem 1 classes in quick succession, making a nice, compact block of teaching. The day is ended, with the seventh period, with the dual credit Chem 2 class. I’m not sure how I will really fit in with this class, so far I’ve been a pretty good lab assistant, but it seems like the interaction with the community college could provide complications.

I really will be posting some stories of what has happened in these classes, but time has been my enemy this last week.

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