Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Three Days

I’ve actually been back more like six days.  But I don’t count the 2 to 3 hours I spent last week tiding up the classroom, getting my technology all set up, and general preparing my work space for my arrival. 

So I arrived on Monday, which is called a Buy-Back Day.  Essentially a Buy-Back Day is a non-student day where the teacher shows up and spends seven hours in professional development.  I use it for prep for two reasons.  First, the professional development offered by my district has been, oh, less than substantial for my tastes.  And that leads to my second reason I use it for prep; I need the time to prepare, not to learn about something I will hardly ever use in class.  Now, the problem with not attending a Buy-Back Day is that you get your pay docked unless you attend seven hours of unpaid professional development, off your contract hours, some time during the year.  Please.  In the course of this summer alone I can afford years of Buy Back Days.  FED Meet the Experts, AP Annual Conference, EDCampSFBay…..EZ!

So I’ve been prepping for three days now, focused on the task of getting AP U.S. History more engaging primarily.  It’s working pretty good, although I’m looking at it and praying to God that I have no distractions so the course will run smoothly.  Of course, that ended today when I was introduced to Common Core Standards.  Now my AP students will be tested three times this year on content they will not have studied because the Common Core Standards only address Reconstruction onward, while the AP course demands the entirety of U.S. History.  Sigh.

I’ve also got Economics done, also with increased engagement.  I’m trying to work in a way for students to go over the City of Ukiah’s budget while looking at Opportunity Cost, Trade-offs, and concepts of Choice.  But every time I look at the budget I get the sudden urge to slit my wrists because I’m a Social Science major.  I tell people why they need the stuff, not how much everything is going to cost and probable revenue.  So I’m working on a slightly simplified budget, if such a thing exists.  Then it’s on to college prep American Government, which needs minor tweeking and less overhaul. 

Got a new school phone that plugs into the ISBN hole in the wall.  Kinda of cool new toy with my own phone number.  Other than that the technology has changed little, although the district is really touting technology advances.  However I still see my eleven year old, 512 mb ram desktop computer on my counter and when it told me that my operating system would not allow me to download Chrome, I realized I was still driving my 1989 Honda Accord on this technology superhighway.   

It’s meeting time over the next few days with prep in the afternoons.  If you are going to EdCampSFBay this weekend, I’ll se you there!

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