This morning I started my new scripture study plan which is essentially nothing formal, but I am guiding scripture study along with Preach My Gospel. I read Lehi's dream in 1 Nephi 8. I really felt a connection with Lehi in wanting to share his joy (his fruit) with his family. And I understood his sadness and disappointment when his sons would not partake. Oh, how I would love if my loved ones would know and partake of the joy that I know... If everyone could understand how much their Savior loves them, and how he already suffered for them, and how it makes your burdens so much lighter to feel his support. If everyone could know that, everyone would be so much happier.
So I thought I started my day off the right way. Then I got every red light on the way to school! It was bad. I tried to breathe off my frustration and make it a good day. And it was a good day. My kids were awesome. I also got free dinner before conferences--Joe Morley's BBQ. Pulled chicken sandwich, pork & beans, potato salad, cole slaw, amazing pie. It was delicious. AND free Dr. Pepper. I think I heard someone say we're having Panda tomorrow. I love free food.
So parent-teacher conferences were tonight from 4:30 to 7:30. Apparently I was supposed to count the number of parents who showed. I just went through my rolls afterward and made a list. Thirty-six parents in three hours. That's an average of 5 minutes per parent. I had a constant line. I had to speak Spanish to several parents. I think I was able to take two swigs of my water bottle quickly as another parent sat down in the chairs. I didn't have a moment to breathe. I'm not sure it's possible to explain how exhausting and taxing this whole thing is. I think you just have to be on the other side of it. It's great, but it's a LOT of enthusiasm and repetition and explanation and praise and criticism and TACT! And a lot of naming kids and remembering their class period and finding their parent letters and retrieving their progress reports and remembering to tell them what's due. Holy toledo. Nevertheless, I made it through. I'm much better prepared for tomorrow (progress reports cut and sorted, numbered sign-in sheet created.) Left at 8 PM and will be back in less than 12 hours. I get to do it ALL OVER again tomorrow! Two late nights in a row. Friday is a sleep in day!
I was so sure that they said, "There's very limited parent involvement at this school." Really? Pretty sure there were so many I couldn't breathe. But all things considered, if 36 come again tomorrow, that's only 72 out of 183 students whose parents came. I still think it's a lot compared to last year in Provo.
However, my night ended well. Because on the way home, I got almost all green lights. So that made up for this morning's frustrations.
I gained a lot of respect for some of my kids who I could tell didn't get the same support at home as others. I now know what they do is all on account of themselves and no one else. I learned a lot of the challenges of some of my kids, some needs to move students, some adjustments for grades, etc. It's a lot to remember and absorb, but I am a professional, right? :)
I have totally revamped my approach to Tom Sawyer as of tomorrow. I'm taking my students in a totally different direction to let them construct their own knowledge and seek it out within the book. Hopefully it will work out. Some may flop, and some may fly. But my professor last night said something profound: "I figure whoever's doing the most talking is doing the most learning." So if the teacher is doing the most talking, then there's a problem. *cough* transmission model *cough* Unfortunately, pouring our knowledge into our students' empty glasses just doesn't cut it. Transferring would be easy. Having them build it on their own is a totally different challenge, and much more effective. (For example, showing a picture of a regular bibliography and an annotated one--both labeled--and asking what the difference is between them. Then asking what an annotated bibliography is based on what they've seen. Or showing examples of persuasive essays, and making a list of what things make those essays good, or not good. This way you're not just TELLING them what's good and not good--they're constructing it on their own. These are simple, simple examples, and it's not as easy to put in practice with everyday stuff, but hopefully I'll get the hang of it as I do more and more of it.)
It is now 9 PM, and I am spent.