Sep 5, 2007

going the distance

Almost a year ago, I wrote:
Talking to a colleague in the history department yesterday, I found out that he's teaching 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th periods, which he called "The Marathon." This year my schedule's equally breathless, starting at 1st and running straight through to 5th, with only short breaks and a half hour lunch for respite. I miss that mid-day reflection time, which provided a chance to change tactics if an early lesson bombed.

The trimester is another marathon, but for my first period debate class, it's a marathon sprint, a year's curriculum finished in thirteen weeks.
The situation has changed a little this year. I'm still running the 1st-to-5th marathon, but with an extra added bonus: National Board Certification to fill up my prep period and my remaining free time.

At least we've switched to semesters, which gives five extra weeks for debate. That'll make a huge difference in depth and quality, especially when it comes to Lincoln-Douglas values debate, which requires a crash course in philosophy, ethics, law, and argumentation for baffled novices.

The marathon begins at breakneck speed: I hope to once again learn all my students' names by Friday. Impossible, really, but worth the effort. Seating charts, constant name use, name-based group activities, studying the attendance list, names quizzes. Whatever it takes. I have to know who's waving to me fifty yards down the hall.

After five full years of teaching, I think I've finally reached competence.

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