Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Finally, I see my classroom 

Today's orientation was a bit more nuts and bolts oriented. Lord knows about the new K-8 teachers in the district, but the HS teachers went to our schools and got things like keys.

We had a pretty good presentation from the AViD coordinators for the school. I first found out about AViD when there was a story about it in the paper in my old city (the program just branched there last year or the year before), and it sounded like exactly the sort of thing that schools need more of: Something geared towards making average students into college students. My school is working towards making AViD principles be implemented across the curriculum so we learned about Carnegie note-taking and SQ4/5R reading strategies. Funnily enough, I'd been researching all of this on my own the past few weeks. Back when I taught in the Saturday program, one of the parents talked about how the most important thing one of her teachers had done for her was teach her how to take notes, and I had decided that I was going to make some systematic note-taking system part of what I did with my students. It's nice to see that I'll clearly have institutional support on this.

But the big highlight of the day was getting schedules (I've got prep first hour, journalism right before lunch, and geometry the rest of the day which was close to my ideal (I'd've liked to have had a post-lunch prep period, but nothing's perfect). The school is still in heavy-duty construction mode courtesy of renovations which have been under way all summer and are being rushed to be ready before school starts in a week and a half. There are new doors being installed which will add to the confusion since there are no keys for the locks on those doors (how that happened seems a bit of a mystery). My classroom has its new carpet but the furniture is still piled around the edges of the room. More worrisome to me is that while I'm in this room for all five classes, there's another teacher there zero and first hours. And this is her classroom. She's teaching part-time because of a recent child-birth, but it's been her room for a while and the walls are all filled with her own decorations, etc. She seems a nice enough person, but it does mean that there will be some negotiation underway to make everything peaceful and I can't just put things wherever I want them. The other big revelation is that the AP hasn't told the former newspaper advisor that she's no longer teaching journalism and advising the newspaper. I was a bit worried about that sort of thing, and hopefully it won't be a big problem. I guess I'll find out on Tuesday when the veteran staff returns.

On Monday I'll finally get my textbook(s?). Word is that the geometry textbook does not really do proofs. Crud. It's state standard number 1 for geometry, so it can't be skipped, but I'll have no text support. Note to self: Lean on the veterans when you have to go off-book. Don't try and do it yourself. Anyone know good sources for cheap used HS geometry texts, preferably teachers' editions?

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