Today I had my first evaluation from Baker University. It was a fairly typical class for me in a lot of ways, both good and bad. One suggestion that the professor had was that I make a file in my drawer labeled "Encouragement" or "Cheer Up" or something like that. In it, I should make note of the times that I have been complimented on my teaching, and I should throw in notes that students write to me. It should be something to help me on the days when I feel like throwing in the towel (or a ham grenade).
I had dinner with Mom and Dad today, and Dad suggested that I also throw in things that students have said or done that made me laugh. Smart guy, my Dad is.
A quick side note on dinner, as I rarely mention a meal without going into detail. We ate a Buffalo Bob's Smokehouse, and it was a reminder of days long gone. When I was a student at K.U., my parents would come to visit fairly often, at least once a month. When they did, they always took me out to dinner. One of my favorite places to go was always Buffalo Bob's. There were five reasons for this:
#2 Big pile of it.
#3 Curly fries piled on top of that.
#4 Hunting trophy heads mounted on the walls.
#5 Classic Rock n Roll being played, but not too loud.
Buffalo Bob's is not an expensive place to eat, but on a college budget it kind of is. Right now I'm kind of on a college kid budget. I'm not even paycheck-to-paycheck, as I am still waiting for my first paycheck to finish coming in.
We had a nice dinner of ribs, and talked the whole time about a variety of topics which I will not go into here, other than the one I started with:
Keeping track of the happy times to get you through the hard times.
I've decided to do that here, starting now. Here are a few things:
One of my algebra students, an eighth grader, told me last week that the work we did in my class really helped him in science class. This, I am told, is an amazing thing to happen, especially this early in the year. Jr. High students are just not inclined to compliment their teachers. At all. I felt good when he told me that my class helped him, and even better when I started to hear about how rare it is for students to do this.
Today the teacher I share a room with, Sharon Dwyer, told me (and my Baker prof. and our resource teacher, Jackie) that she thought I was doing a great job. She said that I have a lot of energy in front of the class, which is something they need. She has spent more time in my teaching classroom than anyone else, so I'm taking that in a good way.
A couple of weeks ago a student teacher followed one of my students around for the day. At the end of the day she told me that my class was the most interesting of the lot. That's good to hear. And I'm pretty sure she meant the good kind of interesting.
Our vice-principal, Lisa Clipsham, has mentioned to me that when she pops into my classroom, I project an air of authority and control. "That's a big part of the game," she continued.
There are times when I do not feel in control. Those times are more frequent when I have not planned well, but they sometimes happen when I think I have a great lesson planned. While this can be frustrating, I know from experience that it will get better. When I started teaching at ELS, back in Korea, it was an intense split-shift schedule. Usually four hours in the morning and seven in the evening. I would go home in the afternoon and sleep.
[Another incomplete post, but worth putting up there.]