Friday, November 16, 2012
A Day in the Life: Berlin Edition
Today was Friday. On Fridays, unofficially speaking, I have a full day with no free periods.
I got up around 6am and got ready. I knew it was going to be cold today, so I dressed extra warm with thermals and boots. Normally I eat breakfast, but today I was running late after responding to a Facebook message, and so I scrambled out the door at 6:32am with some dry cereal in a napkin to eat on the way to the train.
After a train and a bus, I arrived at school at 7:45am. Scrambled up to my classroom (on Floor 4), dropped off my stuff, and then hurried off to my morning Homeroom which began at 8am in another building.
After morning attendance with my Homeroom, I went to my Grade 9 class. Some of the kids who had opted to take the test today were pulled out of the room by the Student Support specialist. The rest of the kids were taking advantage of my extra review day for them. This was a double-period that lasted until 9:30 and seemed to fly. In the beginning of the period, I lost patience with one kid who was expecting me to hand him all of the answers, and I spoke to him impatiently and basically said that he was being lazy. I felt a little bad, but not too much. I told him that his effort was unacceptable and that I'm not one of those teachers who's going to say that it is OK what he's doing. The class was pretty quiet and really trying the problems after that. By the end, the kids were in good spirits because they felt like they have a grasp of the word problems dealing with midpoint and distance, even though they definitely still need to review quadratic factorization before next Wednesday's test...
Then came morning break (a 15-minute recess), during which a boarding student came to speak with me about another new boarding student whom he is helping to tutor in math. We spoke about what the new student should be working on.
I grabbed my box of supplies (10 graphing calculators + board markers + lesson materials + 2 versions of textbooks) to head over to the other building where my next class was going to be. It was Grade 12. We went over homework from the previous day, which tied into the new Calculus stuff we were going to be doing -- area between two curves. I explained how this ties to the middle-school idea of finding an irregular shaded area using subtraction of total area minus smaller part/hole. The kids then practiced some skills in class and then copied down another practice quiz, due at the start of the next class. This double-period also went by fast. When class was over at 11:05, I looked up and was surprised that half the day was already over.
During lunch, 3 eleventh-graders came to see me for a re-quiz, and so did two seventh-graders. Before they left, I graded their quizzes on the spot, gave them feedback, and then pep-talked one girl who is really persistent despite her difficulties in Standard Level IB. I told her that as long as she keeps trying, I won't remove her from the class because I think it is possible for her to catch up, even though I know that her old math teacher didn't recommend her to go into Standard Level math. Another two Grade 9 twins tried to come get some help with their American curriculum (I have been teaching them the curriculum in pieces during lunch, since they're going back to the States after this year), but I told them that today's not a good day because I needed to prep for a class after lunch still. As usual, I just ate some bread which I had bought in the morning, for lunch. I always stay in my classroom during lunch, because kids tend to drop by at this time for re-quizzes, extra help, etc.
At the end of lunch, I headed over to teach PSHE, which is basically character education for my Homeroom kids. Today we were doing some bonding activities, because another Homeroom teacher was out, and some of her students were joining us. We did a get-to-know-you-better game involving asking provoking questions. The kids really enjoyed it, and they were sad when the period ended.
My own Homeroom kids then followed me to a different room for our Grade 8 math class. (I teach in many different rooms.) They turned in their lab report final drafts and we continued our discussion from yesterday of inequalities. They asked me interesting questions like, "Did it take people a long time to discover negative infinity?" And they also made up hand signals for infinity. I told them that they can start an infinity gang with their infinity gang signs, and after that every 5 minutes I'd see them flash the infinity sign.
After the Grade 8 math class, technically I should have two periods off at the end of the day, but those are the periods when I go in to support someone else's math class (unofficially). I work with a kid who moved to our school from a war-torn country, who is several years behind in math. I sit next to her and normally she works on solving simple one-variable linear equations while the rest of the class works on trigonometry. Today was the start of a new topic in Statistics, so she was following along the rest of the class and doing tallies. While she did tallies, since she said she didn't need any help, I just graded some recent trig projects for my Grade 11 students.
My colleague needed a bit of pep-talk after class, so I sat around to wait for her after school. We chatted a bit before I headed out to catch the bus. Today I left school early (at 3:30pm) because it's a Friday and also because I had a wedding dress fitting at 5pm in the opposite corner of Berlin.
The dress fitting went well! Afterwards, I grabbed dinner alone at my favorite Thai restaurant near home. Extra spicy. (It's my guilty pleasure to dine out alone. I do it every Friday so that I don't have to deal with talking to people at the end of the week, and plus it works out well that Geoff goes to play ball on Fridays.) I came home, updated the blog a bit, and then now I am thinking about how I should probably nap before my friend's Housewarmer tonight...
Posted by untilnextstop at 3:19 PM