School started last week, and my students are blogging this semester. You know what that means! Back to a regular posting schedule. So let’s do this.
1. Since I am in what I’m going to call the hazing period at my new job, my earlier class starts at 7 a.m. on Monday/Wednesday and 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday/Thursday. This is…not ideal to say the last. I am a night owl, so acclimating to this new schedule is something that’s going to take some time. For now, I’m forcing myself to go to bed early, so I can figure out what will work. This has so far included getting up early on today (my day off) as well.
I’d say it’s going pretty well considering I went to bed too early so woke up an hour before my alarm went off, and I just woke up from a nap about 20 minutes ago. I am making this deep sacrifice because I was absolutely horrendous (okay, crabbier than I wanted to be) to my class on Wednesday because I was so exhausted, and I do not want to be that person. It’s a challenge.
And by “here,” I mean in Tampa, scoring AP exams.
Hello! This has been a wild weekend. First of all, I fully participated in a yard sale with friends on Saturday. I did make some money, which turned out to be a very good thing because it rained Saturday (we are in our monsoon season) and that reminded me to check the weather for the AP week. And guess what? It’s supposed to rain, rain, rain all this week, too.
And since I don’t have my car here, I realized that I should probably get some rain boots since I will have to walk everywhere.
Especially since our weather has been pretty much like this for the past week or so:
aka crossing things off the to-do list
aka I am officially done grading because I entered ALL the grades for ALL my classes
aka no more grading until fall
aka I just turned off/deleted all the various alarms on my phone (get up for work, go to class, end class, stop working, go to bed)
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for Y.
Okay, so I already posted about this on Facebook, but it fits perfectly with the letter for today, so I’m going for it again.
I got to use a transparency today for the first time in years! YEARS, I tell you.
See, we have doc cams in almost every classroom here, which makes transparencies unnecessary and obsolete. But the classroom I was teaching in today doesn’t, and I needed to go over a student draft. What was I to do? AND THEN I REMEMBERED.
I got to use the bypass tray on the copier and everything.
Also, my transparency marker still worked. It was awesome.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for R.
I met with two of my classes for the last time today.
In the first class (creative writing), I had more than one student tell me that they enjoyed the class. Creative writing is a fun class, right? So I think the bar was set pretty low. But then! A student tells me that she loved the class and she wants to be a professor and I am her favorite teacher and just cemented her desire to become a professor.
Then, on my way to my last class of the day, I ran into a former student. And he told me he had just this week looked back at the blog he created for the class. “I put so much work into your class, and I don’t even like English. I want to thank you.”
And then in my last class, one of my students said, “I would get so mad at you for being so picky about the missed periods and stuff in MLA, but now I pay more attention when I proofread to make sure I haven’t missed anything.”
So, yes, I teach my students and sometimes they learn things. And sometimes I even get a chance to find out about it.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for Q.
Item #1: New Bloggers
Three out of my five classes did their blog wrap-ups today, and at least a handful said that they were going to keep blogging. Some said they had always wanted/meant to start a blog. One even said she thought you had to be interesting to blog but now she knows better. (And no, she didn’t read my blog to come to that conclusion. 😂) And another student is excited class is over so she can focus her blog on her favorite interest–something she’s always wanted to do.
So, basically, blogging in class gave some of my students the confidence to start their own blogs because they got to play around with the platform in a safe space with a safe audience.
Item #2: New Readers
Forcing my students to read (at least for those three classes) was a success. Almost all of them said they were glad to do it since it got them to read books they always meant to read but hadn’t gotten a chance to. Or they were glad (for 1102) that we read off the banned books list because it introduced them to books they may not have read otherwise.
I told two students about the Serial Reader app and they downloaded it. Oh, and one student told me he was going to keep reading to which I said “Yay!” but he quickly said, “NOT THAT MUCH.” Students: they giveth and taketh away.
Okay, but here is the best comment a student made: Reading off the banned books list made it easier for her to do her reading for other classes, including the textbooks.
READING FOR THE WIN. ALWAYS.
Item #3: Blogging Book Reviews
Forcing them to write reviews on their blog was also a success, especially for my creative writing students. They really did think more critically about the books they were reading when they had to explain why they liked them or not. One student said that the only reviews he ever read were from old people (professional book reviewers) and this was the first time he’d read reviews from his peers, which he really appreciated since people from his age group bring a different perspective. Another student said he never talked about the books he read before and was glad he got a chance to share his reading with people.
My favorite, though, is that one of my students has already positioned herself as a book blogger. Her about page says that she is accepting ARCs. 😍
So, yes. I wasn’t planning for this to be a reflection on using blogging in my classes. I just wanted to point out that some of my students are excited about blogging, which is great, and that most of them are now reading, which of course makes me the happiest.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for O.
So, after making my to-do grid, I realized I had a lot of work to do this weekend and so spent most of it grading and/or doing prep for this week and finals. I have made so much progress, though, so it was totally worth it. And after next Friday? SCHOOL’S OUT FOR THE SUMMER. As long as I get my grades in by then.
So yeah. When I’m in that mode, everything gets super overwhelming, and I can’t focus on anything. It’s just all too much! And when it’s all too much, there’s only one thing that helps me.
Making a to-do list.
As I collected my students’ papers today, some of them said they felt so much better about these papers compared to the ones they were getting back. Why? “I know I did better on this one. I can feel myself improving.”
Yes, I said. Good. That’s what it’s all about: seeing how you’ve improved from the beginning of the semester to now–even if you don’t get the grade you want.
They weren’t so sure about that grade part, but they did acknowledge that it felt good to see their progress.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for J.
Last summer, I applied to be an AP reader with ETS. While there is a main application, there are also follow-up bits and bobbles they occasionally ask you for. I found some of it tedious, and it felt like it was all for naught. But today I was invited to be an AP reader for English, and I am thrilled.
Even if I hadn’t gotten the job, I would have been glad I completed the process. Otherwise, I would have been constantly second-guessing whether I should have done it or not. And I would (and do) know what to expect for next time.
I also watched my friend defend her thesis today. Nothing says follow-through like completing the defense process. I’m so proud of her and so glad she invited me to be a part of her day.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for G.