Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's the energy, stupid.


The amount of energy and resources that I used in the first two weeks is pretty staggering.  But based on the reaction I've received from the A-building and kids, it seems like the energy expended has been worth it.  The classes are all going smoothly with minimal classroom management issues and lots of critical thinking going on.  I've also got a nice idea about the overall atmosphere of each class as an independent entity.  I have good energy in most classes, a flat energy in one, and one class that could prove a little challenging as the year goes on. 

Most of the success comes down to the energy that I'm bringing to the classroom.  I've really limited the sarcasm that I bring to the environment, especially to the Juniors who have heard that I'm tough.  I've replaced it with a lot of smiles and a lot of positive reinforcement, although I'm still quick the discipline when necessary.  On Thursday I gave my first referral to a student that I caught texting in class.  The reaction that the student gave reaffirmed the referral and I think it sent the message that I mean what I say.  That referral has been the only real problem so far. 

My new attendance policy (no consequence for slight lateness, start quiz when bell rings) has worked very well.  The antagonism of 20 second tardies is not present, and the students that end up showing later are paying for it by missing assignments.  They are also usually the one's that won't take the time to do make-up work, which makes it easy to justify grades when mom and dad call and ask about their kid failing the class.  My attendance overall is pretty good, although I'm amazed that I'm already getting requests for Short Term Independent Study for kids going on vacation.  Note to those parents that actually think API and AYP mean something, neither category takes into account the fact that parents take kids out of school for weeks at a time for vacation.  And the second biggest month for parent-driven vacations is May, the month of the STAR test.

I'm also working on me.  I'm working on taking very little work home with me to keep the batteries recharged for a longer period during the year.  I had to grade some papers today and worked on a power point earlier in the week, but most of my work is being done at school, even if I have to stay late. 

So I would give high marks for the start of the year, and the question is about the energy, whether or not I can keep it up. 

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