Sunday, March 31, 2013

Alive...

To all of you who have been wondering, I want to assure you that I am still alive.  Seriously, though, the fact that some of you took the time to check up on me really meant a lot to me.  If you've sent me an e-mail and I haven't responded, sorry!  I'm working on getting caught up, but it's taking me longer than I expected.   

I could blame my lack of blogging of late on a lot of different things.  But, I think what it really boils down to is that the first year of teaching is overwhelming.  I knew going in that this year was going to be crazy.  I just didn't know in what ways that craziness was going to present itself. 

A lot of stuff has happened in my school district that I can't and shouldn't talk about on this public blog.  And, that's been hard on me.  I want this blog to be a transparent and true reflection of what life in my classroom is like.  Every school is different, and every teacher's circumstances are different.  Even though I already knew that, I have learned that this year from experience.  My classroom is not perfect.  My teaching is far from perfect.  And, my school district is not perfect. 

However, I shouldn't let myself stop blogging because I can't tell you the whole story.  That would be unfair to both you and me.  I learn a lot about myself from the act of blogging.  There is something almost magical about putting one's thoughts, feelings, and experiences into words.  When I write about a lesson, I see it through a different lens.  And, that helps me to learn from my successes and failures in order to become a better teacher.  So, I promise.  I'm going to keep blogging my lessons and reflections.   

So, what have I been up to? 

Algebra 1 has journeyed through linear inequalities, systems of equations, and part of a unit on simplifying radicals.  Algebra 2 has focused on logarithms, sequences and series, and we're preparing to start on conic sections tomorrow.  And, my math analysis students have been working with one-to-one functions and logarithms.  We test over logarithms tomorrow, but I'm not sure what the future holds for that group of students.  The next chapter in our textbook is matrices.  I'm thinking it may be fun to take a break and explore some discrete math, though. 

Pi Day was a bit of a disappointment.  Two days before Pi Day, I started feeling terrible.  My stomach started hurting, and I only felt okay when I was asleep.  I barely made it to school on Pi Day.  Seriously, it felt like I was dying.  Our amazing counselor came and checked on me half-way through the morning and suggested that I go home because I did not look well.  I took her advice.  I ended up spending five hours in urgent care.  They finally ruled out appendicitis.  But, they sent me to the emergency room when they could not provide me with a diagnosis.  The er doctor told me I had a stomach bug, and I needed to just go home and rest.  I'm not sure if that diagnosis was accurate or not.  But, I do know that I spent almost all of Spring Break sleeping and resting.     

We returned from Spring Break for a four-day week.  Our emphasis has turned to EOI review.  My students currently have only ten more school days until our state standardized testing takes place.  I'll be honest.  I'm nervous.  My test scores will tell a story.  I'm just not sure what story they will be telling.  For my Algebra 1 students, the stakes are high.  If they don't pass, they may not graduate.  My students can't afford that.   

My students and I have worked extremely hard this school year.  In both Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, I had to reteach a number of concepts that my students should have previously mastered.  This means that we are not as far in the curriculum as I would have hoped to be.  If you ask any of my students, they will tell you that we have not slacked off this school year.  Oh, they wanted me to, but I have not given in.  They know that Ms. Hagan does not believe in free days.  And, Ms. Hagan does not believe in movies.  (Of course, some students think that I literally  

I worry, though, about my students who have missed so much school.  I worry about my students who struggle with reading at an elementary school level.  What will their test scores say?  Will they fill like their hard work has paid off or will they feel like a failure?  Will college be on their horizon?  Or will they start to contemplate dropping out of high school? 

Questions.  Questions I may never know the answers to.  But, I will not let that keep me from doing my job and changing lives.