Friday, December 17, 2010

Another semester down

As I sit here, supervising my last class taking their last final of the fall semester, I've just realized that I've gone the entire semester without blogging one single time! It's been a fast - and busy - semester, and I think we're all ready for a break!

I started the school year "floating" between 5 different classrooms. It certainly kept me hopping! It was complicated at times, especially on lab days, but it was going just fine and there were no major problems. However, it was definitely an inconvenience, not only for me and my students, but especially for those teachers into whose rooms I floated during their conference periods. In fact, I think I was coping with the situation better than some of them were! At the end of the fourth week of school, my department head came to me with an offer - "we'll let you move into the Science Department computer lab as your regular classroom." Let me tell you, that was an offer I could NOT refuse!

The students and I have enjoyed the new classroom. There are various mismatched tables, chairs, and desks, in addition to the built-in lab tables and computers. My 4th period class has especially enjoyed the access they've had to computers during advocate - in fact, I think they've really gotten spoiled! Some of them have even been coming in here before school during finals to use the computers, since they weren't going to be able to during their class time! We occasionally have to trade classrooms with someone for a couple of days so the computers and their equipment may be used by another class, but it hasn't been too bad so far. On the required-attendance finals, they have kept the non-testing students occupied while the others are testing, which is always a challenge! And it's REALLY nice having a classroom - I'm trying really hard not to take it for granted!

Of course, one of the problems of getting a classroom after the school year starts is getting it organized, and that's where I haven't done a very good job. Since I didn't start out with a room, I didn't have a chance to develop paper-handling routines with the students from the start - things were a little different from classroom to classroom, depending on the situation. The end of the semester found me with huge piles of papers on every horizontal surface - desk, computer table, demo table. I've spent the last couple of days while the students were testing and during my conference period cleaning up, throwing away, and organizing. It looks a LOT better - you can even see surfaces! I hope to start the spring semester with a better system in place and keep up with the piles before they get out of hand!

It hasn't been a bad semester - I think I have only one student who will end up with a failing grade, and that's because she moved here a month ago and transferred in with a failing average. I'm sure there will be some changes and shuffling of students' schedules before the spring semester begins in January - there always are. I know of a few changes to be made here and there, but I feel certain most of them will be back in the same classes with the same core group. At least now they know where to find me before and after school!

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