It was a good class. There were 18 students, even though it was a freezing cold (for Maryland) Monday! We did lots of varied practice around the same grammar point, including writing, talking, and filling in blanks. I was pleased with my planning and execution, and I feel good about my direction for the rest of the week.
I’ve had some ongoing frustrations with my campus email, but today I had a real problem: I got a gmail note from one of my colleagues that her messages to my work email were bouncing back. I cleared out the few offending medium-large (they were by no means huge) messages that I’d received late last week and into the weekend. Since gmail doesn’t have that kind of a bounce-back problem, I decided I’d quick set up email forwarding to run my campus mail through gmail instead. The system said to call tech support to do so. When I called tech support, they said it was impossible.
I don’t believe that forwarding email is actually impossible, so I’m spending today’s post-class time working around the restrictive email system (I’ve got several ideas for at least partial solutions, and am testing one right now). I normally use this time for my lesson reflection, planning, and prep. I guess all of that will have to come later on in the evening sometime.
When I have prohibitively dull tools, I have to stop my real work to sharpen them.
When people around me make decisions I disagree with that impact me, I get upset.
When I set a goal and then am moved in a different direction, I get upset.
Someone asked me why I let these things upset me.
The answer is change. Because when I’m upset, I think harder, faster, and more creatively to make the situation change. When I’m upset is when I say, “That’s it, I’m not letting [mistake] happen again and here’s how,” or “I know [this] is the right answer and I just have to make sure I’m heard,” or “Ok, [goal] just got harder but so help me I’ll get there anyway.”
Because if I don’t get a little pissed off sometimes, a one-time goof becomes a habit, what was once a mishap becomes normal, and the standards bar slides down unchecked.
A life of anger is not the answer, but neither is one of complacency.
Despite three teachers calling in sick or out of town this week for today’s evening classes, I had full class coverage! One coworker subbed, I subbed, and one class was covered by the co-teacher who wasn’t sick. Perfect!
Setting up co-teachers is really, really nice for those sudden winter illnesses that happen. Instead of having two hours to scramble for a sub, you just let the co-teacher know they’ll be flying solo that evening. And in the event that they both come down with something, you can at least chalk it up to a decision made by fate and not your own poor planning.
Even though a solid handful of my teachers prefer teaching alone, I’m still working on them to either teach alternate weeks or have a “stunt double” who could come in for them, preferably even on short notice.
I’m just so pleased that we had enough teachers. Even though it’s possible to combine levels if need be, it’s disruptive for the students. Also, since it’s one answer to last-minute situations that arise, it’s rare to have enough time to write a fantastic multilevel lesson somehow relevant to both classes’ curricula.
So I think I should find a spare couple of hours to write a multi-level lesson or two to have on hand just in case. And I think that I should keep at building up this co-teacher thing – I feel great about the quality it enabled us to give our students this evening.