I’m trying

Posted on June 27, 2014


I’m trying to find my happy place.

Right now, I’m overwhelmed.

So, because I’m me, it is time for a story.

I have, in my opinion, a “reputation” of being elitist…that I’ll only teach “good” kiddos. I put the word “reputation” in quotes because I feel it was a label given to me; I didn’t earn it.

To quote my school’s registrar, “Oh, when I think of the higher classes, I automatically think of you.” I had been asked about a student that was not and never was my student, but she was in Calculus (higher math). I’ve never taught Calculus. I have no desire to teach Calculus. My degrees are in Statistics.

I teach Statistics, AP Statistics (one of each, and I’m the only one at my site interested in teaching anything Statistics-related…wimps), and last year I taught Honors Precalculus and Precalculus. If I was being judged by last year, I understand the label “elitist”. But in previous years, I taught pretty much everything, including my school’s version of “Please get these seniors some math units so they can graduate!” class. They were thugs, mostly. I loved them. We had so much fun figuring stuff out from Mathalicious, Yummy Math, Robert Kaplinsky…the list goes on.

Even with the “fun” of last year (225+ students, no prep period), I have this reputation of “always” insisting on the “easy” schedule…and getting it, apparently. I never “take one for the team”.

Ok, then, I promised myself that whatever they gave me this coming year, I’d take it. With a smile, even. I love being with all of the kiddos. I know that seniors have had fewer injections of “squirrel” than freshmen.

I beg to differ; last year’s seniors were more squirrel-based than my thuggish “I just want to graduate!” kiddos. These seniors included people who, when they were sophomores, drove my math-teacher husband out of the public sector (no support for him from Administration…”you’re a male teacher…handle it” was a quote he got from a VP) and into private, online-school land for his own sanity. (Technically, they were one of two reasons he left.)

But, I digress. As usual.

I have my Stats classes this year (yaay!). And Freshman Geometry. Four “special classes”, they told me.

My district is moving toward CCSS Integrated Math. Good. They should.

But we can’t yet. We don’t have books (I’m on the textbook adoption committee) yet. Most of the “usual” high school standards for California shifted down to the middle schools. Over the next three years, the current middle school students will get those standards and enter high school ready to go with CCSS. They’re not necessarily ready right now.

This “special” class isn’t Honors (those kiddos go to someone else, which is fine…it is her specialty). These are kiddos who are too high-achieving to go into the CCSS Integrated Math I (the Algebra I replacement) based on their benchmark scores at their middle schools. I have been tasked to keep them at this level so that they can take Calculus by the time they are seniors. Oh, and make sure they have the tools to do well on the SBAC’s test when they are Juniors, which is based on Common Core, not the “old” California State Standards.

So…CCSS’s Geometry standards while filling in any Grades 6-8 CCSS Geometry Standards they might have missed because their middle schools were transitioning to CCSS. I’m on it.

Oh, and do all the prep for this class to be used…once. It won’t be used again. Because next year, these “special” kiddos will go with the Honors kiddos to see if they can hang with the district’s “accelerated” path (basically, CCSS Integrated 1 and CCSS Integrated 2 done in one year so they can be ready for Calculus).

I know I have the MTBoS for help. I’m overwhelmed by how much great stuff is out there though. I want to try it all.

I also have the Geometry stuff from the last time I taught it, but it is California Standards-based, not CCSS. Well, I have it somewhere. I think. It was two laptops ago, but I can find it.

I’ve also committed myself to Standards-Based Grading this year. New for me in actuality: my head has made the commitment, and I’ve worked out how…in theory…with much great advice from the wonderful people of the MTBoS. But I’ve never actually done it. I want to do waaay more PBL to align with the CCSS Math Practices (I love them).

[Don’t bite off more than you can chew…don’t bite off more than you can chew…don’t bite off more than you can chew…]

Mostly, I’m overwhelmed by finding enthusiasm for this. Once. Do all the work so you can use it once.

The pessimistic part of me wants this “special” class to go to any one of the teachers who has taught Geometry more recently than me. As in “last year”. They’ve got  more current stuff.

I think they would be better teachers for these kiddos because they’re more used to it. Best for the kiddos, not me. They are who should be number one, right?

It doesn’t help that those colleagues have a terrible reputation about sharing. They don’t. They say they’ll get it to you, but…They. Don’t.

I’m not listening to the pessimist. I’m Trying.

I’m a pretty perky, Pollyanna-type person normally. Ask my kiddos; even two years ago when I was really sick, I was pretty obnoxiously perky.

I’m having a hard time finding my Happy.