I have become the one that people are worried about in my department. This new class they have hoisted on me will be a challenge, and everyone knows it. My Assistant Principal called me yesterday to check to see if I was alright with the switch. "Uh, 'alright' is a bit too strong of a word," I said, and she explained to me that I was the last in the department who was IB-certified, so there really wasn't another option.
Still, the 9th grade is my forte. My persona works well with 9th graders. I knew the curriculum like the back of my hand, but was consistently challenged by it. I loved it.
My department head called me today and asked how I was feeling about teaching the IB Juniors. "Daunted," I said. She's a lovely woman, and gave me a long speech about my readiness for this course, about my work ethic, about how my strengths will accentuate the course, and about how I should just concentrate on teaching it like an undergraduate literature course and the technical stuff will take care of itself. It was nice and exactly what I should be hearing. But, like I told her, it's not just this course, it's what I've been given for the year - two new preps, two new curriculums to learn, to go along with taking two graduate courses and working a second job this fall.
I have a meeting with the former teacher of the course tomorrow. She's not teaching it this year because she's pregnant. It'll be nice to know that she'll be around for support.
This just came from a kid I taught as a 9th grader and will again teach as an 11th grader. We e-mail back and forth about books we're reading in the summers, and he wrote this to me:
"So now that I know that you're going to be teaching IB next year, can I just say one thing... on the behalf of the people that I know that are going into IB? As much as we complain about it, we like to work hard. We expect it, especially seeing all the juniors and seniors that have come through in the past. We're scared that IB is just going to be like another English class at (the high school), because we want to get something more from it, and push ourselves harder if it means we learn more."
That's great and all (if every kid could have the work ethic of this one...), but the problem is, to make kids work hard, I've got to know the literature backwards and forwards. And I don't even know what the curriculum is yet. And there are only five weeks to go in the summer. The previous teacher taught Siddartha, Brave New World, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Metamorphosis, Frankenstein, The Elephant Vanishes, The Fifth Child, and House of Spirits. I only know about half of them very well. I believe I get to choose what I want, based on IB specifications, but I have no idea what those are right now. (Something about at least three translated works, a work by a woman, a work by ...)
Phew! I'm working myself into a little bit of a tizzy but I know if I'm well prepared and work my butt off for the next five weeks that I'll be ready for those smarty pants at the beginning of the year. And they are really good, smart kids. I just don't want to let them down.
Last class of the summer was tonight. Two classes, two 4.0 grades, and lots learned. I can't let this out-from-left-field schedule change ruin the charge on my newly charged teaching batteries.
Lastly, hey, guess who was linked from Aol Cityguide today?
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