I’m trying a “new” way of doing homework in calc this year. I say “new” because it’s new to calc, but it’s how I did homework in precalc the last two years. For every homework assignment students complete, they get a star hole punch on a note card. When they have ten stars, they turn it in for a 100% quiz grade (not a replacement grade–just a new “Extra Credit Quiz”). They may turn in as many filled note cards as they’d like throughout the year. The idea is to reward the kids that do the homework as opposed to punish those who don’t. The system is obviously not without its flaws, but I try to assess often enough to keep the students from procrastinating too much.
In this system, homework is “due” the day before the quiz or test for that section, which is also a day for the students to work on their study guide.
In my mind, I figured these days would be days I could spend my time answering questions and clearing up any misunderstandings.
Instead what has happened is that I run around like a mad woman as all thirty-six hands seem to fly up at once. Every time, I hope someone has some great math question. Instead (usually), she simply says, “I have homework for you to check.”
Finally today in fifth hour, after already running around like a crazy lady for two other calc periods, I told my sweet kids, “Please. Only raise your hand if you have a math question. If you have homework, I promise–I will get to you eventually. But your questions are my first priority.”
Lord have mercy. That’s all I had to say this whole time? That’s the calmest I think I’ve felt in any calc class all year. When a hand went up, I interrupted my rounds to attend to that person’s question, and then I picked right back up. I talked to everyone today, multiple times (given, it was a work day, but still). I even heard someone whisper, “No, don’t raise your hand for that. She said she’d get to us.”
Omg I can’t handle them. How cute are they?
I feel this is descriptive of how my year is starting to go. I think I’m settled. It always takes a month or so. I know this. I still don’t like that first month. But I’m in my groove now. I’m getting to know my kids; they’re getting to know me. Classes are running mostly smoothly; I’m leaving work no later than an hour after the last bell; and I don’t bring any work home. And I’m caught up on grading (the perks of the aforementioned homework system).
I’m a wife, a mom, and a teacher. And I’m not perfect in any of those roles. But I’m learning how my new rhythm works; I’m learning how my teaching can make me a better mom and how mothering can make me a better teacher. I so love my two jobs. And even though not every day is great–or even good–there’s always something in every day. ❤