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Working Overtime

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Today was definitely a four-letter word morning. I woke up 28 minutes before I had to be at work. It's a 35 minute drive from Gallup to my school. I still needed to shower. And I had playground duty. (Luckily teachers have to arrive half an hour before school begins.)

But the most vexing of it all was that I had overslept dreaming about school. I even recall trying to stay asleep longer because I was in the middle of teaching a new word problem strategy. Apparently our new Big Goal for math problem solving had burrowed itself deep enough into my subconscious. I had been mulling over how to teach my kids to comprehend and calculate unit costs. In my dream, my students had reached that Aha! moment and understood how to calculate and compare the costs.

Hopefully this was a prophecy for things to come in fourth-period math class!

In the meantime, unfortunately, my students were running around under-supervised on the playground and I was 10 minutes late to work!

4 Comments

Welcome to the club. Every teacher occasionally has a day like that one.

Some students see us as god-like creatures (at least the young ones), but we have lives, families, problems, and the whole range of issues facing the rest of the human species.

As you get more experience, you get better at accelerating to catch up if you get behind for any reason. To use a musical metaphor, the first year you are sight-reading, the second year you can play competently, and the third year starts the time when you can improvise and deepen your knowledge.

Hang in there!

One of the biggest struggles I had teaching was getting to work on time. I am not a morning person and never learned to be one even after 24 years of practice! To this day, I prefer teaching afternoon and evening classes in adult education.

As for dreaming about teaching, I have been out of the classroom for three years now, and I still dream about it. My husband says that I even talk about it in my sleep! Once a teacher, always a teacher ...

March is a tough month, this time between nasty ol' winter and refreshing spring. Get enough rest, have some fun with your students, and reward yourself with a treat after a good day's work.

Sometimes, I would just go to an early movie to enjoy the popcorn and soda. Sometimes, if the weather was sunny and warm, I would go to the ice cream shop. Other times, I would just take a nice long walk in the park. Little self-rewards will get you through.

At this point in your two-year program, do you plan on continuing teaching? Any ideas about where you might like to teach next?

Our district has taken rewards to another level and with great success.Our district been part of a research study conducted by Case Western University, Cleveland,Ohio. A local donor has given money to our district to pay students grades three to six who pass the state achievement tests, $15 if proficient, $20 if score beyond proficient. This reward is given to the students through what is called Coshocton Bucks and can be used at any business belonging to our local chamber of commerce. This has brought over $30,000 into our local community in the last two years. Fifty three percent of our students are economically disadvantaged and twenty-four percent are have IEP'S. We have seen improvement in our test scores entering the third and final year of our study so external motivators are working in this case. Our hope is that these students will see the overall picture that one will be rewarded in life for hard work.

HOORAY !! Kudos to Case Western, the local donor, your school district, and the Coshocton Bucks program! I hope it continues, blooms, and produces real results. I've thought for years and years that there's not one thing wrong with teaching students that if they work they'll be rewarded, tangibly. After all, they see us adults work for money. In many if not most cases the harder people work the more money they earn, and I feel this is a very valuable lesson for young people to learn. Incredibly, I even think my son is learning this lesson! Yes, miracles can happen!!

I'd love to be kept abreast of this remarkable program and will be Googling around for news about it.

We have a Juvenile correctional institution in my state. The cost to the state (sitting down?) PER RESIDENT (prisoner) is $75,000.00 per year!! Can you believe that??!!!

I hope and pray your program continues. Best of luck.

JJ

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  • John Jarboe: HOORAY !! Kudos to Case Western, the local donor, your read more
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