My two cents (Week of Mar 22, 2021)

For each school day of the 2020-21 school year, I will be writing two sentences to capture some of the impressions, feelings, experiences, or thoughts I had that day. This is the 24th post in the series.

Monday (Mar 22)
Today was the first day back at school with students present. Out of nowhere, access to a whiteboard and dry erase markers launched me into a dizzying state of excitement while introducing my students to complex numbers; at the end of one of my classes, a student remarked sarcastically, “Mister, this was one of the best lessons ever!”

Tuesday (Mar 23)
The whiteboard action was so infectious today that, when 5th period opened with a lack of engagement, I held down a playful, two-minute conversation with my whiteboard; I told it how much I missed it’s these last several months and promising to reunite as much as possible with its marker friends. I also had pleasant lunch outside in the courtyard with a bunch of students who opted in for in-person learning.

Wednesday (Mar 24)
Because of in-person scheduling headaches and space constraints, I’m now teaching my ninth period class in the gym. Today, after HR (who hasn’t given one answer over the mic all year) voiced several correct responses in a row, I ecstatically grabbed a basketball from the utility closet and made a layup at nearby basket in her honor (not going to front: I was so happy that it took me two attempts).

Thursday (Mar 25)
After FD left his pod to walk by mine (they were next door to each other) to giggle at me while I was teaching his class, I bee-lined into his room to steal his tablet (he was in the bathroom). I brought it back to my pod, changed his screen name, and turned on his camera; after several minutes he eventually discovered it was me — thanks to his friends who dimed me out — and came into my pod laughingly to retrieve it.

Friday (Mar 26)
In preparation for an AP exam, a colleague had her students come to school for some actual in-person learning (no screens) in the courtyard; having taught many of her students before, I paid them a visit. I was excited, but also awkward; it felt weird to be sharing the same air without two laptops and a slab of plexiglass between us.



bp

My two cents (Week of Mar 15, 2021)

For each school day of the 2020-21 school year, I will be writing two sentences to capture some of the impressions, feelings, experiences, or thoughts I had that day. This is the 23rd post in the series.

Monday (Mar 15)
I played a scintillating couple of games of blackjack in ninth period; I’m still searching for our daily “thing”…maybe this is it? Our collective struggle was on full display in our grade team meeting after school; an extended moment of silence swept over the group as we contemplated next steps in helping our most struggling students.

Tuesday (Mar 16)
This afternoon was the second part (of four) on CHRE featuring Gholdy Muhammad. Hearing her speak was insightful and helped me understand CHRT as an “instructional response” to an oppressive and unjust educational system that was never designed for Black and Brown students (where you start matters).

Wednesday (Mar 17)
Tried out an exit slip today that asked students to rate their emotional state at the end of class. I stole it from a ELA colleague; instead of doing a “check in” at the beginning, it was helpful to capture this info at the end to take with me to my post-class reflections.

Thursday (Mar 18)
Today was the first day back in the building since late November; getting ready in the morning triggered some “first day of school” vibes; Seeing colleagues in the flesh filled me with a renewed sense of hope and positivity. The second student-led peer tutoring session happened today between 4-5p (I guess my MfA PLT on building peer-collaborative spaces wasn’t in vain.)

Friday (Mar 19)
I was fairly alone in my choice to come into the building today; after months of solitude, I needed the change of scenery. A subdued day in my classroom was filled with an awesome cogen and the delicate tappings of my keyboard throughout the afternoon.

bp

My two cents (Week of Mar 8, 2021)

For each school day of the 2020-21 school year, I will be writing two sentences to capture some of the impressions, feelings, experiences, or thoughts I had that day. This is the 22nd post in the series.

Monday (Mar 8)
A student in the eighth period volunteered to replace me this week in our daily ritual “Mr. P and the Random Thing,” where a student from our class names a random object that I have find in my apartment (or something close to it). Today a classmate asked her to get an orange; she ended up showing us three different types!

Tuesday (Mar 9)
For a few weeks I was feeling uninspired and unsure about the impact of the Future Educator Club. But after a couple of the students encouraged me to not drop the ball, the Future Educator Club met again after school and made plans for the next few sessions.

Wednesday (Mar 10)
Found myself slowing down several times in my classes to express deliberate amounts of patience; my students weren’t readily offering up responses, but I tried to remain empathetic. In the past, I would have done this in a way that was passive aggressive, but today I was more understanding — I genuinely waited for them to be ready to engage.

Thursday (Mar 11)
Excitedly, I attended the first of four workshops centered on the work of Dr. Gholdy Muhammad and her book Cultivating Genius, which I read last year. An uplifting thought: after teaching from home since November, one week from today I’ll be back in the building.

Friday (Mar 12)
My co-generative dialogue focused on how we could structure the class to have one “work day” every week or every other week (e.g. a day where students who need 1-on-1 help could get it, but those who would like independent work time could be excused from class altogether). The anti-asian hate workshop went really well with the staff this afternoon; I think the racial and social justice collective (of which I am a member and who plans these bi-weekly workshops) seems to be finding our stride.


bp

My two cents (Week of Mar 1, 2021)

For each school day of the 2020-21 school year, I will be writing two sentences to capture some of the impressions, feelings, experiences, or thoughts I had that day. This is the 21st post in the series.

Monday (Mar 1)
Decent energy all around today as we explored factoring trinomials through my Dunkin’ Donuts spilled coffee problem. In 5th period, we debated whether soup was a snack and even did a poll to decide the matter (the numbers don’t lie: 60% of students responded NO); somehow we concluded the debate with the question of whether we humans should be considered soup whenever we take a bath.

Tuesday (Mar 2)
I’ve been having some thought-provoking conversations with colleagues about the role compassion has in our teaching. Ended the day with back-to-back affinity group experiences, which concluded at 9pm, that left me hanging by thread.

Wednesday (Mar 3)
I was so tired today that I forgot about a scheduled meeting with a colleague during sixth period. She was graceful in reminding me about our meeting, which I luckily was still able to attend; she’s doing a “case study” of my instruction and curriculum for her grad class.

Thursday (Mar 4)
I had a strong urge to play tic-tac-tie with my students today, which I took full advantage of. I publicly played at least 5 students in each class; after suffering an early loss in each, I bounced back to tie, except in period 9 (I lost to the last student, which caused me to have a losing record).

Friday (Mar 5)
My cogen had 4 new members today and orienting them to the space took more time and energy that I imagined; we had a small takeaway for next week, but I was hoping for more. Spent an hour this afternoon debriefing with a MfA colleague about the first white antiracist affinity group we facilitated earlier this week; she’s GREAT.

bp