About eighty times.
The upside to quitting my job mentally is that I'll still get paid tomorrow. The downside is that I still have to go to work -- mentally, physically and emotionally.
Before we commence with the misery, here's a quick overview of the curriculum plan followed by my school, where we conduct reading and writing lessons according to something known as the "workshop model." The workshop model looks like this:
- Each period is 50 minutes long.
- Each period begins with a 10-minute "mini lesson" conducted by the teacher, which consists of multiple parts: Connecting the lesson to something the students have already done; introducing the "teaching point" for the day, which is outlined in very specific language that always includes the word by ("Good writers use correct punctuation by ending each sentence with a period"); modeling the teaching point; actively engaging the students in trying it out; and then sending them back to their desks to write for 35 minutes.
- Students write on their own for 35 minutes while the teacher "conferences" with individual students.
- The lesson concludes with a 5-minute "share" and review.
OK, yeah, that's not exactly how it's working out. The mandate from administrations says: Follow the workshop model. I have oodles of issues with this, including:
- Some kids hate writing. Sad, but true. They are not happy about having an extra period of writing. Behaviorally, this is challenging. I hear whining, I hear sighing, I hear outright defiance -- and I don't get to play fun games like "Capital vs. Lowercase!" (which went over pretty well with my second graders) because they're supposed to be writing. Again.
- Some kids hate writing. Sad, but true. They are not happy about having an extra period of writing. Mentally, this is challenging. A lot of them use half the period just thinking of an idea -- and by then, I'm literally wresting the paper out of their grimy hands because I have to run off to another class. Because I only see them once a week, they don't get to continue it another time -- and if my lesson is "Good writers use correct punctuation by putting a period at the end of a sentence," like it was today, and I'm in a first grade class, like I was today, some of them won't even get to the end of a sentence by the time class is over.