Friday, February 11, 2011

Teaching week 2 & 3

It seems like Friday of week A has enough spares that I can set time aside for reflection, so a bi-weekly summary might be enough until I can get everything else under control. Hopefully this will be a couple of updates a week once I settle on a format I'm comfortable with.

With week 3 done, most classes are now firmly into the topic for the first term. I've had to take a reality check with most of the subjects, as I'm simply unable to implement all the changes I wanted this year. For some classes I might have another opportunity to get stuff ready by 2nd semester, but for now I'm a little disappointed that I have to 'lean' on textbooks to get through.

The reason for the cutback is pretty simple. Time. My initial intent was to stay back after school and prepare everything for the next day before heading home. I seem to work well in a work environment, even if it means working until a problem is complete rather than working up to a certain time. When I used to work from home as a contract programmer I found it hard to get going (too many games?), but once I'm in the zone late at night, I'd work into the wee hours of the morning. With a rigorous timetable, the late nights will need to go...

Time. The first couple of weeks were pretty crazy with a lot of extra time devoted to getting changes to the work program in place, but I was expecting it would settle down by, say, about now. It doesn't look like it's happening though. Most nights I'm still here after 6pm just covering the basics for the next day or responding to issues or emails arising from the day. I need to bail by then so that I still get to have Dinner with the kids, but even that's been missed more often than not. I'm left with an option I wanted to avoid, take work home. Recently it's also been exacerbated by meetings for school council and youth ministry cutting short the preparation time at the school. There's more meetings on the horizon too, so it's only going to get worse.

All the new teachers to the school gathered on Monday to discuss any issues, and although there were a dozen new teachers to the school, only 2 of us were first year teachers. The prognosis about the workload seemed to be confirmed: Yep, that's natural when you're starting off. You will get better at it, but it might take a couple of years. Probably 5. Holidays also came under the firing line and it was revealed from long-time teachers that only the Christmas holidays allowed you to actually relax. The other times you're still in 'teacher mode'.

Getting used to this 'teacher mode'. Always a teacher. Always...