Except for a handful, the students are done with their exams. I've sat through 34 fifteen-minute presentations in the last three days. They're pretty grueling, but I do my best to give every kid my 100% attention. We do them in groups of 6-8, and I assign other students questions, and we work together to get every up to the 15-minute max. The IB wants the presentations to be 12-15 minutes, with questions, and I can honestly say that every single kid got there, though a few we had to help along more than others on the question route. I had a couple of kids go 20, but was proud today that the kid I was most worried about going over on the time limit held himself to 17.
I try to figure out how to combat the boring-ness of them, though. I think that, next year, I will require a visual aid despite IB not needing one. That will help the students stay on point, and the audience hang in there a bit more. Seems obvious, but I stick so closely to the rubric that I've never required it before. I think that next year, I will.
I have requested my same courses for next year - IB English III and MYP English I. This year, it was nice having just one group of Juniors in a lot of ways; having only 36 papers to grade of these tough Junior essays instead of 75 like last year helped turnaround quite a bit. On the other hand, sharing the course with someone means compromise, which I'm not always good at, and it also means that my other prep becomes four sections. I decided that this is kind of boring, and am thinking about requesting, against contract, three preps next year - three of 9th, one of 10th, and one of 11th IB. I also like the idea of following a few of my 9th grade students into the 10th grade; I think the AP would probably be okay with me giving her a list of a few kids and her trying to get them into my class. This idea is kind of crazy, but I think it will help my grading. Knowing that not one stack of essays is over 100, and that every time I assign an essay I can stagger by classes into manageable loads... I just sort of got the epiphany that it will help. It was extremely difficult to even start a stack of 135 freshmen essays this year. And because I know the English 2 curriculum well, it wouldn't be difficult to add it as a prep. Plus, it's a prep that no one else wants because it's an HSA course, so I would probably be doing a favor.
I just got this idea today. I think I'm going to talk to the department head tomorrow. We don't really get much say in what we want to teach, but I think it might work out.
In the meantime, I'll be working in my classroom for the next few days, getting everything packed up and cleaned up. They make us take everything out of our rooms every year, though I'm going to try to keep my way-high-up posters up this year, the ones I had to put up with a ladder. Otherwise, cleaning everything is something I really like every year. This year, I'm determined to organize my files. I barely went into my file cabinet this year, and whenever I did, I could never find anything, so I already have taken them all out, and they're set up around the room in a gigantic mess, and I'll be spending the next couple of days organizing them. I've even got a couple of 9th grade helpers, who apparently like to do this sort of thing, coming back to help me.
The last week of the year is the best week of the year, after, of course, the first week. The upheaval of the previous school year, leading to the inevitable fresh start of the new school year, is one of the greatest joys of teaching. Being able to reinvent yourself, to do it all again - but right this time - is something that I think teaching has on every other profession. It's one of the only one that really allows you to have a fresh start every year, no matter what. I love it.
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