Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What does a Day One look like?

I get up at 4 a.m.  This is going to be pretty normal for the next half year until probably March.  By that time I’ll be trying to get a little more sleep to recoup from basketball season.

I head into the kitchen and my wife and I make coffee.  She checks work e-mails as Ms. Coach Brown begins her new job at, well, my school.  I look at twitter and notice that the Asian markets are in a tailspin.  I take a mental note.  I have breakfast; two eggs, two bacon, two pieces of toast.  Then I look at blog post; Giants blogs, retail deal blogs, Mashable, and finally teacher blogs for a couple of pearls of wisdom or a link. 

My wife goes to work out and I pick out a shirt and tie for the day.  Shower, shave, and I’m ready and out the door by six.  This is about thirty minutes from normal but I want to leave nothing to chance in the classroom.  Oddly enough I forget to check simple things before the day begins. 

I’m not the first one in my building.  This is a good thing.  It means I work with people that care.  I unlock my door and immediately start arranging desks in a more workable fashion.  Then the hour plus dance.

-Set the Newshour on the laptop.

-Bring up the video clips and Power Points I’ll use for today.

-Check Twitter again.  Dow is down 500 pts and I need to be prepared to discuss it. 

-Print out new class rosters.  Shit, printer is out of paper.  Put in paper.  Shit, it won’t print.  Make sure printer is found on my laptop.  I is.  I go and turn off and on the printer.  Hit print again.  Still won’t print.  Class is 45 minutes away and I’m starting to get concerned (which is stupid).  I find the printer properties and hit the Refresh button.  Printer now prints four copies of my class roster.  Happy Monday.

-I turn on my iTunes play-list and put it up on the big screen and music starts….30 minutes before class. 

-I head to the Admin Building to make sure no last minute things  are in my box. 

-I come back, look over the room, nod in satisfaction, and check Twitter.  The market is not looking good. 

-I walk out of my door with 15 minutes before class.  In my class songs from the Rolling Stone to Lorde James Brown to Prince are playing.  I help Freshmen find the right rooms and greet my students as they filter in.

Here we go.

1st Period-

My classroom is stuffy because the AC won’t kick in for another hour.  I’m already warm.  The class is an Economics/AP Comparative Government hybrid and it is already engaged.  News is well received and I get into character.  I read the attendance as Ben Stein, then show the clip of Ben Stein, then talk as Ben Stein about the misconceptions of Economics.  I then slowly change my character into character from the boring Stein to Morphus from The Matrix, complete with robe-style jacket and sunglasses.  I do the whole “red pill, blue pill” speech but with an Economics bend.  We do a simulation that shows self-interest and then start into the Eight Core Rules of Economics.  A very good class.

2nd Period-

I head out and greet my next class, American Government.  Again music is playing as they come into the room only this time I concentrate on the Introductions.  These students are going to be less intrinsically engaged with the academia so I want them to know who I am.  The news elicits a lot of good questions and engagement is high.  I have them write opinion pieces on utopian society, capital punishment, and if they know if people can be arrested for possibly committing a crime in the future.  We talk about it and the discussion is great.  I show a clip from Star Trek, The Next Generation in which the group is on a planet where all crime is punishable by death, and Wesley Crusher falls through a planter thus breaking the law.  The conversation is fantastic.  Another very good class.

At break I consume a nutrition bar and talk to the Athletic Director about basketball stuff.  Then I hustle back and greet my third period.

3rd Period-

Again American Government, and this class is very eclectic.  There is massive debate potential here.  I start by discussing Silent Reading (the first 20 minutes of this period, added on) and why I find it valuable.  I also show them my library of books, talk about each magazine, and they tell them that I’m happy to buy them books.  They we conduct the class much like second period only this class is very chatty, and in a good way.  I cut back some of the writing portion of the questions and make them flat out discussion, which is usually the most important part.  We end a bit behind but just as, maybe even more so, enlightened. 

4th Period-

Back outside and back to the AP Comp Gov-Econ hybrid.  This time my boss shows up and engages the students about the music and some post-secondary institutional advice.  This is nice because it shows that the principal clearly “gets it” and we have a nice banter.  The problem is now we are behind.  I do the Ben Stein/Morphus shtick  but I end up about ten minutes off the previous class.  I’ll have to make this up in two days since tomorrow is the Google Classroom log-in day.

Lunch is quiet and I surf the net looking for news of the markets.  I’m back outside to greet students. 

5th Period-

Fairly large class for a 5th period and back to American Government.  This class is the first one that shows signs of Seniors that are no longer enamored with the concept of being here for the next nine months.  Body language from a few choice students is not good.  But most of the students are still very engaged and overwhelms any negativity.  The engagement is so good that we are also behind (only a tad) in this class at the end. 

6th Period is my prep and take stock of day one.  I’m tired but happy that everything went well.  But day one is easy and most teachers are good on this day.  It’s the next 186 that really make the difference.  I wander to A-Building and watch the lines of students trying to make changes to their schedule.  The building is totally alive and in action.  I ask some of the staff for stickers for the computers in my Chromebook cart.  We are totally out of stickers.  That’s not good.  I need the computers numbered to match their port in the cart.  I wander over to a teacher that I have found extremely resourceful and he shows me a label maker that works perfect for marking the Chromebooks.  It takes most of the period. 

The bell rings for the end of school but I ignore it and start grading some papers and prepping for tomorrow.  The technology portion is going to be full of hiccups but that’s par for the course when dealing with machines.  I want to have it totally down by 3rd Period.  I end the day by cleaning up my desk.

My wife lets me know that she is leaving and I follow her home.  We take a three mile walk and decompress from the day; she spent all of it helping kids with schedules.  She’s been a teacher for 15 years and is now a program head and administrator. Her new adventure is just starting.  It’s low-90’s outside but the walk feels good. 

We end the night with pizza and a salad, and we are in bed by about 8:30.  The night will be a little noisy as they are harvesting grapes really early this year and the vineyard behind my fence doesn’t have the Cakebread level vines.  They are harvested by machine.  I read a little from a book about Nigerian culture and drift off. 

My fifteenth year has begun.     

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