Monday, January 19, 2009

Ketchup or Catch-Up?

How do teachers cover what we need to cover in time, especially considering the random chaos that throws us off track... like snow days, student absences, whole school assemblies, unannounced class field trips taking 1/2 the student body, late buses, and announcements/phone calls constantly interrupting out classrooms - to name a few.

As someone new to the teaching profession, it amazes me that teachers manage to stay sane in a constantly chaotic environment. I work in an inner city school, which is especially more so. On any given day I can expect at least 1/5 to 1/4 of my classes to be missing due to absences, and that's a good day. There have been a few days where I've had less than a 1/3 of my class show up. I have to judge whether it's worth it to teach the material and then catch-up missing students later (like, after school on my own time) or lose a day of teaching and delay the class.

To compound the issue, I have a schedule that I have to keep according to the state. Every month there are certain topics that I *have* to cover, come rain or come shine. I'm ok with that, but it's going to take some adapting to figure out how to plan for chaos and come out on schedule.

Hence the current rant. I'm behind schedule. The kids need to learn 3 weeks worth of stuff in half the time, and it's not their fault. It's half mine, and half the weather's (last week there was a snow day and two of those days should have been snow days because most of my students were gone).

What to do to catch them up without being cruel? Ugh....

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