Friday, February 22, 2019

Finding Balance #StartOver Day 20~Day 24

Now that I'm done with Day 24, I realize that I won't have time to write a blog everyday. And to be honest, I had so much fun exploring new things to introduce to my #StartOver students and new strategies to get my students engaged that I have been working a little too much. A little too much that I have been neglecting many things, mostly the students in my computer science classes.

On Wednesday morning at around 2am, my daughter woke me up crying hysterically. She said her heart was hurting. I panicked. I took Wednesday (Day 22) off so I can take my daughter to the hospital. It turns out that she was having muscle pain from flag football practice on Tuesday. It was her first practice and she's the only girl in her team. It's not like she wanted to be there. I forced her. Since I require my son to participate in flag football every season, I thought I'd make my daughter join too. I didn't know that girls can join the team, but it turns out that NFL Flag Football Inland Valley is co-ed. I think she wanted to show the boys that girls are as good, so she overworked herself. She caught the coach's ball from really far and I'm pretty sure that's why her chest hurts. I guess this is why coaches tell you to catch with your hands, not with your chest. But I thought my daughter had a heart attack that evening.

Anyhow, that meant that I missed work on Day 22. But Wednesday is also my lunch club day. I have come to love GirlsWhoCode even though I didn't even want to participate in the beginning. Guess what I did. I actually went to school after the hospital visit on Day 22. It was also the incoming freshmen electives fair. And as you know,  I am trying to establish and grow the computer science pathway at my site. I had 4 freshmen at a table recruiting at the gym from periods 2 to 4. I had to check on them as well. This was when I realized something was wrong with me.

Then on Day 24, I missed school again this time to go recruit for my computer science classes at Pinacate Middle School, which is our feeder school. I didn't have a Google Slide or a short video to present to the students until the last minute. I have been working with my technology TOSA Deatra Lee to build and expand the computer science pathway at our site. We are trying to offer our capstone class, which will be the AP Computer Science A course. I only have 15 students who committed to sign up for that course this coming school year. My principal tells me I need at least 20 students or it's a no-go. The thing about this course is that last year, I wanted to offer this course, but I found out that we had to purchase the curriculum. Schools don't ever have money so the idea to offer the course was probably not appealing to my administrators. It was shot down. This year, Edhesive is offering the course for free through Amazon. They even have internship programs and scholarship opportunities for students. I was excited when I found out our site was selected to receive the program for free after an interview process. And our site administrative team is open to offering the course thanks to Amazon and Edhesive.

Deatra and I have been talking about sending emails out to students, teachers and counselors, making slides and videos and visiting classrooms to recruit for the pathway. Except I was pre-occupied with my #StartOver classes. So I failed to create the video and the slides. I think I mentioned Deatra before in my blog, but she really complements me so well. She knew of my situation and drafted a slide for me. For the video, we already had ideas, but I couldn't start it for some reason. She told me to record samples of my student work, then send it to her and she'll edit it. Finding student work and recording them sounds easy enough, but that alone took a few hours. But I got them done and once I sent it to her, she magically put them together with music and even my voice-over. You can check out the video here. With the slide, I got rid of a few slides, changed the order and it was good. I have to admit that if Deatra wasn't there, I wouldn't have a video or a slide to recruit students with. This is off-topic, but I have to say that even though I have great affection for all my previous technology TOSA's, I love Deatra the most. She is tall and beautiful so I had to get over my insecurities first, but once that happened, she was the best person to work with. I am learning so much from her about being a good team member, but mostly about being a good person.  Back to my point. My failure as a teammate in creating the videos and the slides and sending out the emails on time was also when I realized something was wrong with me.

In addition, I read some guy's blog that stated that what I'm doing is writing a diary. And that is different from a blog. Upon reflection, I realized that I want to blog to help myself but I also want to help others. I want other teachers to have a reason for reading my blogs so we can all get better together. Sometimes I scour through Twitter in search of other teacher's blogs to find what I need and find nothing. I know I read it somewhere but I can't remember the name of the author and what the title was. Looking at my titles and my content, I realized other teachers will have the same problem with my blogs. Plus, by now, my routines are the same every week. The only difference now is that more students are ditching my class.

I had this whole week off and I didn't go to the gym once. So I guess my #StartOver classes was not the reason why I didn't work out.

But I did rearrange my room and clean out my closet and gave my daughter outfits that are too small for me now. I also cooked myself some healthy Keto snacks and looked up different strategies to memorize the times table. But most of my time was spent solving practice questions from in preparation for my students' upcoming coding competition in April. I learned that I really enjoy solving these coding challenges. I get into the flow. I wonder what I would be doing today if my teachers encouraged me to learn to code when I was younger.

Anyhow, so I decided that instead of writing a diary about all the things that happened each day, I would find one topic of interest and try to blog at least once a week only pertaining to that topic. Of course something from my day would have triggered that topic.

As always, if you teach math to students with IEPs or if you teach a remedial class, I want to thank you. Because I know most administrators, politicians, parents and even other teachers want to blame you for the students' failure.  You are NOT the reason for their failure. But you have to continue to reflect and reiterate. No one ever wants to do your job. And when you don't have to teach one of these classes, always find something positive to say about that teacher who teaches that course. Because that teacher is drowning and slowly dying inside. And if that teacher leaves the profession, you might have to take over the class. And if that happens, you want other people to be supportive of you, right?

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