Today was one of those extra anxiety ridden stressful days, the type that make you feel like you just ran a mental marathon. I had visitors in my class today – 7 adult visitors. These visitors were administrators, “school designers” and various instructional specialists from the network (whatever that means), all in my class to observe literacy elements in the science classroom. Of course, I was told that the visit was “in no way evaluative”, and in fact, “don’t plan anything special, just do what you would normally do”. Yeah right. Lets be honest, every visit is evaluative – especially when the focus is on common core literacy: reading, writing and speaking (not to mention science). So I planned a lesson where the kiddos would be writing analytical paragraphs about the results of the lab they just finished (the conclusion, essentially). The lesson was all set to go, when I panicked and decided it wasn’t good enough. So I re-planned. They needed an example of a decent paragraph and a checklist, so I made one. They analyzed the example conclusion I wrote and critiqued it. Then I gave them copies of paragraphs written by their peers in other sections to analyze and critique. Finally, they revisited their own conclusion paragraphs that were written last week from a previous lab (which were abysmal). All this went down and I tried to split myself into 37 pieces, monitoring every single kid and watching how each of the adults interacted with my kids. It’s a controlled chaos. Multiply this by 2 classes, and then add on top of it all an afternoon school wide “presentation of learning” where I had to create a visual representation of the course I teach and man my table with students from my classes (fingers crossed that they didn’t embarrass the hell out of me and were able to articulate what they learned from my class).
Here’s the thing I hate most about these lessons – while these lessons are absolutely necessary, I find myself forced to teach more English than I am teaching science. I don’t like teaching English, I like teaching science, darn it! The kids want more doing, more lab time, more fun stuff, less reading, annotating and “rigor”. But instead, I’m forced to do all this literacy stuff with them, the same stuff they do in English class, history class, etc. They hate it, I hate it, but it’s necessary. Necessary because these kids can’t write a decent paragraph to save their lives (these are 15 year olds), and you know, “it’s not evaluative or anything”.
The best evaluation I got today? A comment from a student on how my style is always changing. “You know, one day you’re all ‘classy’ and the next day you’re all nerdy looking.” Ummmm, thanks? Here’s my “nerdy” look.
sweater: cö via uo – shirt: levis – tank (underneath): alternative apparel – jeans: bdg via uo – flats: old old old nine west (these live in my class for days where I wear my bean boots to school) – bracelets: mainsai (present from b) and unknown chinatown jewelry shop (present from my popo when I was a kid)