Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 28 -Friday, March 4

The morning didn't go too well today. Mr. CT has been busy with Science Olympiad, so there really haven't been much meeting after school to coordinate for next week and apparently the stuff that I had was not to his liking. It wasn't terrible but he just wanted a lot of stuff changed around.

I've realized there's a cultural element going on with the two teachers I interact with the most that I don't particularly care for. I'm going into this experience with the assumption that I'm terrible at being a high school chemistry teacher, which I believe is fair, since this is the first time I'm really doing it anywhere close to the scale of a normal high school teacher. This means that, while I do spend a lot of time thinking about the material I create and try to get it right, I generally have very little attachment to it. I am very amenable to changes, even extensive changes, simply because I believe that to be the point of all this. I try something out, the experienced teacher weigh in, I learn something from their criticisms and remake it, then I learn how to present the better product. I will occasionally stand up for some part of what I've created, but only when I think changing one aspect will invalidate another aspect. It's rare, in any case. The thing is, they keep justifying their criticism after they've made it and I've agreed to change it. I'm ready to move on to the next thing and they're still trying to...not hurt my feelings, I guess? Maybe it comes from the clashes that Mr. CT and Ms. Bio have had with each other, as two experienced teachers on relatively equal footing hashing it out. Maybe they're trying to justify their own criticisms to themselves before moving on. Maybe they simply don't believe me when I agree with them as readily as I do. Whatever the reason, it means I have less time to go and enact the changes that I just agreed to make, because we still spend time talking about it. I got a little testy about this phenomenon this morning with some of the discussion over changes. I'm not sure how much of an impact it made on Mr. CT, but in any case I was able to enact all the changes he had suggested over our prep periods, in addition to bringing over the lab cart and prepping the lab.

AP - I was working in the office for this one, but I came out to see the spectacle of the smart kids vying for limited resources in the chem lab. Five teams had to do three trials each, and there were only two spectrophotometers in the lab. I was a little surprised that they even had one, but apparently the cheap ones could fit into the annual budget, such as it is.

Chem 1 - I posted earlier about the spectacle of handing in the colloid lab, so I won't speak to that. There was some widespread confusion with the homework and a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt over the upcoming quiz. Even with the first section, which had given the impression of being on top of the material when I was presenting it but was incredibly confused when it came to actually doing it for homework. Luckily the quiz was terribly short, so I had plenty of time to mull over the method of solving those problems before we had to actually take the quiz. Still not sure whether I've put all the fears to rest, but I think the math day we have planned for Wednesday will help immensely.

Chem 2 - In this class we spent half the time listening to Mr. CT tell stories from his childhood justifying himself as a redneck. The students and I kept pointing out that almost all of those stories show that he either grew up rural, or one of his family was a redneck. Very few of them involved him doing anything that might be considered particularly redneck and instead featured his dad or his brothers. I spent this time cleaning out some of the lab sinks, since I was tired of them being filled near to the brim with water all the time.

After school Mr. CT had Science Olympiad stuff to do, so I took over his bus duty for that evening. Small town bus service is interesting, because there's a lot of buses which pull up and maybe three kids get in. There's a lot of area to cover and not a lot of people in it. I figure that these buses also carry middle school and maybe elementary kids, but I don't really know. I'm not sure exactly what I'm supposed to be doing on this bus duty, I figure as long as no fights or some other overly aggressive behavior breaks out the rest is pretty much golden. There was one conflict that looked like it had the capacity to develop into a brawl, but the kids de-escalated after a while, so it ended up fine. Afterward I stopped into the other class and saw about some feedback on the material they had seen, but they were pretty solid on everything.

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