01 November 2010

1st quarter of middle school

Wow, how has it been nearly three months since my last post?  It feels like not that long ago I accepted my dream teaching job at a medium-sized middle school in Hays County, about 20 miles south of downtown Austin.  We were depressed and desperate after a summer of job applications and resumes with not so much as a returned phone call for a response.  On Joshua's birthday, I came home from my student teaching with a cake, determined to remain positive for our first birthday in our new city.  Around 12:30, I received a call asking me if I could be there at 3:00 for an interview.  I quickly absorbed the entire contents of the school's website, ate lunch, and practiced interview questions while Joshua drove.

After a very stressful 23 minutes with the assistant principal, the head of the English department, and the athletic director, it was over and my head was spinning, replaying all of my answers.  I was afraid to lift my arms too high when I shook their hands because I felt like I had been sweating enough to leave rings under my arms.  Another agonizing week passed before I heard back from the assistant principal--he had been working out some details with the HR department, and it was all taken care of, could I start training on Monday?!  It took getting my ID badge and signing up for my benefits a few weeks later to make it feel official, I was a 6th grade English teacher/6th-8th grade French teacher!  

I could not have asked for a position closer to what I wanted--French is great because it is an elective without an official course map to follow.  I have the liberty to make my own lesson plans, in the order that I see fit, following only an outline from my fellow Hays school district French Explorers and French I teachers.  I get to encourage kids to take an interest in the world outside of Texas and teach them about the diverse cultures of the French-speaking world.  English is also a great course because it is a core class (along with math, science and social studies) and it is the core of the core classes, reading and writing are the basis of learning, so it is a really important  course to teach.  It is also good to have an essential class like ELA on my resume because it shows that I can handle teaching the basics.  

After two weeks of training and lots of hours spent preparing my classroom, school started...students showed up in my classroom and listened to what I said!  It was nerve-wracking at first, but I quickly adapted and have been steadily improving for the last 10 weeks.

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