Saturday, January 14, 2006

Exhausting week, yet fulfilling

It seemed like it was one of those weeks that didn't seem that hard, but I was always exhausted at the end of it. Do you ever get one of those? I believe that a lot of it has to do with the lack of a vacation and the deal with the flood. Not much mental relaxation.
The other part was the bad preparation on my part, as I didn't realize until about the second week of December that the semester was ending a week sooner than I planned for. Oops. That meant that this week was a cram session about the workings of the Supreme Court and important court cases. For my college prep classes, I require that the students can match 26 important Supreme Court cases with the precedent that it set. The students actually enjoy the lecture because I give a small story about how the case came about (some are very entertaining) and then the kids want to know deeper about the case. For instance, many people don't know that Roe vs. Wade did not make abortion totally legal. Check out the issue of a pregnancy after 3 months in the majority opinion. In the end, we get into good legal discussions that some of the kids find very fascinating.
Because this is the week we returned from vacation, and it is the week before finals, the stress is starting to impact some of my students. Decisions are being made by both the students, and the parents, that are becoming detrimental to their education. Parents are taking their kids on vacation during finals week and some Mexican students are signing up for entire months off during the beginning of the second semester. No warning is fazing them at all because most have the opinion that Mom and Dad will save them, as probably was the case in the past. This leads us to another theme of the week, pleading. The begging for extra credit is now to the point that I'm about to post a huge sign in my classroom that reminds students to do the work in the first place. This grade stress has also began to show itself in terms of the first phase of Senioritis. In this phase, some students will start to complain that the school and other classmates are too juvenile, and that education is a complete waste of time. The new term that floats the school is "high school drama", meaning the usual backbiting and infighting that most high school students go through, though it is more prevalent with the girls. The funny thing is that most girls that say "I hate high school drama!" are the ones that create the most of it. Ahhhhhhh, the Senioritis has begun!
The basketball team is 2-2 in league play. While I'm not totally showing it, I'm very satisfied with the current league record because the players are slowly figuring "it" out on the floor. When I say "it" I mean that some players are developing "court sense", the ability to understand the game better. We lost on Friday night to a very good team, but many of the kids showed better understanding of the game than at any previous point during the season. Besides man-to-man, my teams run a match-up zone that is difficult to grasp if you don't "feel" the game very well. I found a couple of players that ran the match-up very well against a good team. We keep progressing and we'll be fine.
Speaking of basketball, that good team we played was Cardinal Newman High School from Santa Rosa, a smaller school private school that, um, doesn't, well.....never mind. Anyway, the varsity team was impressive to watch. They are big, quick and have the right guys playing at the right position. If I had to analyze the team, I would consider it one of the better teams I've seen in the five years I've been in this area. Saying that, our varsity team scratched and clawed during the game and did a very respectable job in competing. They hustle, they scrap and they work together as a team pretty well. Plus, a couple of guys have that "mean ass" court demeanor that seems to be missing in a lot of today's player. I remember that ability to be a fun guy off the court, then turn into a competitive SOB when play started. Fortunately, a couple of our guys have that little chip on the shoulder that's gives a little edge in the game. Although some losses are appearing on the board, the team works hard and is fun to watch.
Once again, I'll work on regular postings. Be patient!
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