For the past two months we have been preparing students for the annual New York City Outward Bound College March. The day finally came upon us and we walked in front of our entire school (the edifice as well as the students) on our way to the Red Hook Post Office. Students mailed thank you cards to those people who influenced them the most on their college journey. While the planning was quite aggravating at times the experience was wonderful and I'm glad we get to participate in it every year. Next year I will be back with 9th graders getting ready to support the seniors who will be marching in December 2017.
Tonight I attended a budget workshop run by the UFT for chapter leaders. I learned a great deal, despite it being such a short presentation, including the fact that there is a major difference in how salaries are calculated for budgets between NYC and Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, there was an average amount of money calculated centrally that was used to "buy" a teacher for a school, no matter what their seniority or pay status was. For NYC, it is an average of just your school, meaning if you have a lot of senior teachers the amount of money you have to spend increases. It's interesting that this choice (I assume it was a choice at one time) was made because it incentivizes getting rid of more experienced teachers in order to recoup their money. I hope and think the information I am learning is useful to myself and my staff in the future!
In preparation for our annual College March my Crew has been sharing information about being seniors with the 10th grade students in our school (other Crews are working with other grades). They are answering questions like "what did you want to do college-wise when you were in 10th grade" and "what would you do differently with the information you now know?" While it can sometimes be a mixed bag based on who is doing the talking and who is listening it is always good to get kids of different ages together to interact. We are psyched for the College March on Friday!
A lot of people have heard of the Escape the Room phenomonon occuring all over the country: people elect to put themselves into a room with others and lock the door for an hour, then try to "escape" by completing puzzles/riddles/tasks/etc. Well, we are going to be doing something like that next Thursday but, since we can't lock kids in a room, we are going to do an educational version called Breakout EDU. In this version we lock a box with a bunch of codes and have the kids attempt to break through as much as they can so they can unlock the box. You can see two different kind of physical locks, various puzzles and riddles and two PDFs locked on a computer. We are going to put the kids in a room and see how far they can get. I can't wait to see the results!
Sometimes we as teachers ask our students to help demonstrate something to class. Other times we ask students to be the demonstration. This day was one of those days, attempting to demonstrate how vision through mirrors and similar triangles can work we had two students model what was written in the textbook and on the smartboard. It was a pretty fun event that students will likely remember. If I know anything of my experience teaching, they bring up old lessons more often than not if they involved movement. So cool!
This week has been and continues to be one of the more interesting ones of my teaching career. It's not because of anything negative related to the students, staff, or my school, but because of outside factors causing me to be absent on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week. As I do when this happens to others, my coworkers have covered for me the entire week for all my classes, including one that I teach solo every day. They willfully did this in order to support me and our students and have made it easier for my students to learn and make sure they get the information they need. I thank my coworkers daily for their assistance and in particular what they have done this week.
I am a math teacher in the New York Department of Education. I infuse technology and real-world problems into my curriculum in order to prepare my students for the future. I would love for people across the country to recognize we teachers can't do it alone. If you don't believe me, come visit my classroom!