I have made it through the first semester. Grades are posted and I am now busily preparing for the next group of students. I get three new classes of students on Tuesday and I get to do this all over again. I am excited about this new group and armed with all of the things that I learned by trial and error during 1st semester.
Here is a wrap of 1st semester--I had 80 students dispersed through three classes. I taught two tech prep classes and one college prep class. English classes are required to take an End of Course test administered by the state over things that 9th graders should have learned by this point. Unfortunately, teachers are not allowed to look at the tests. Only the past tests that are now published online. My students did not do as well as I had hoped they would. Everyone tells me that these students probably wouldn't have passed no matter who their teacher was, but it doesn't do much to help my feelings. I feel responsible for them. I had 35 students who failed the test out of 80. That is too high of a fail rate to me. As far as their semester grades are concerned, almost everyone passed. I had 2 in each of my tech prep classes who failed and will have to retake the test. This semester has taught me a lot and I hope that I will be even more effective this next semester.
This semester I will teach two college prep classes and one tech prep class. My class sizes are smaller this semester as well - at least for now until they start changing people's schedules around. I plan to handle the research paper process differently this semester as well as to work in a few additional grammar lessons. Stern Ms. Frazier will also start the semester off this time. I feel I was a little too nice to start with last time. I want to be a little stronger this semester about what type of behaviors are acceptable and not acceptable in my classroom.
Please continue to pray for me as I start this new semester and become involved in more students' lives. It was abundantly clear to me 1st semester that what I felt about the students, how I responded to them, and listened to them when they wanted to talk and even when they didn't want to talk is very important. I ask that I be able to interact in a manner that is caring and godly with each of these students - past and present.