Thursday, January 31, 2008

Loathsome things

I have this insanely bad habit of picking at my cuticles. Since it's winter and my hands are dry, they tend to get cracked and bleed. So lately I've been wearing a lot of Band-Aids. And I swear, it is all these kids want to talk about. After my mini lesson, I always (naively) ask if there are any questions, and there always are, but they are always about my Band-Aid. Maybe more of my stories should involve medical trauma, and then I could hold their attention.

For four of my classes, I have an ESL support teacher in the room. I run the show, and she assists. Occasionally, she pulls a small group and does a lesson of her own, which is fine by me. But now all of our ELLs have to start prepping for the exam in April. Each ESL class is divided into three groups, and the ESL teachers have started pulling the groups during my class. As one of the ESL teachers put it: "Miss Brave, I have to pull groups, and you're not going to like how I do it."

She's right; I don't. Because here's how it goes: I start the mini lesson with the whole class. Enter ESL teacher, who calls eight or so names. Much ruckus ensues as those eight kids climb over other kids, argue about whose name was actually called, and root around for pencils. Right around the time the mini lesson is ending, those eight kids get sent back to me with no concept of what's been going on on my side of the classroom, and off go eight more kids who won't get a chance to practice the skill they've just been taught. Meanwhile I have a tough time letting the kids go off and work independently, because there's still group work going on in the room, and everyone is interrupted by yet another group being called. (Technically the groups are A, B and C. This past week the ESL teacher in my first grade room spent a good few minutes futilely shouting for Group A. I was like, "Um, they're six years old and they don't speak English. You may need to call them by their actual names.")

Did I mention this is going on until April?

This process also makes me feel like my period is just a dumping ground, as if the kids don't really need to know what I'm teaching them, they just need test prep. If the test prep is so critical, and the only time to do it is during my class, why not train me to teach it too and then we can split the class half and half instead of this rotating mess?

In equally irritating news, the powers that be added on a fifth grade class to my roster, bringing my grand total up to 19 classes. I'll see the fifth grade once a week during the last period of the day (or as I like to call it, the witching hour). The breakdown looks like this:

5 kindergartens (2 ESL, 1 12:1:1 self-contained, 1 CTT)
5 first grades (2 ESL)
6 second grades (2 ESL, 1 CTT)
1 third grade
1 fourth grade (12:1:1 self-contained)
1 fifth grade

In conclusion: Bleh!


J said...

jeez! that sounds beyond frustrating and irritating. hope it gets better somehow!

that reminds me, I recently saw a book of activities for "friday eighth period." cool, huh?

Jessica said...

Just a quick tip: cuticle clippers saved my fingers! I used to always pick at my cuticles, too, until I got cuticle clippers. They make ones that are shaped like the little nail clippers (you know, where you flip around the lever to do the clipping), so you can carry them in your pocket. Dumb comment, I know, but I thought it might be useful.