Wednesday, February 22, 2012


5th period was crazy. The students were fine. I just couldn't keep up.

I was back at the continuation high school. Math. I've covered for this teacher before. I knew what to expect. But it was the unexpected that caught me off guard.

First, the instructional aide was out. Usually I can lean on her for certain things. She can help one student while I'm busy helping another. She also knows where the teacher's materials are located. I found the students' folders. But I couldn't find the binder which contained the keys for the work.

The class is structured so each student can work at his/her own pace. When a student finishes an assignment, the teacher (or aide) signs the student's contract to indicate that the assignment was complete. Some students plow through and get several sections done in a day.

So, 5th period arrived. I noted who was absent on the seating chart before releasing the students to their computers. And then the craziness began.

First, a student needed me to check off his assignment. But the keys were missing, so that meant that I had to go through and figure out each problem to make sure each was correct. But before I could do that, a new student arrived. So, I had to get him settled.

Each new student needs a folder, a contract, and an explanation as to how the class works and what to do. I managed to find the first assignment, and I settled the student next to someone who knew how the class operated. She was kind enough to walk him through how he needed to proceed.

Then I got called away to check off two other students, someone needed a restroom pass, and then another new student showed up. I found one student playing computer games instead of working, and he told me that his folder was missing. Just what I needed--something else to track down.

Finally, I had a moment to sit down and check the first student's work. Then two others needed the same.

I found contracts for the two new students (and folders too), got all the work checked off, and then I had time to sit down and fill out the roll sheet (which I usually do within the first five minutes of class).

And then I stopped to take a breath. I looked around the silent classroom. Everyone was working. And I was finally caught up.

I noted the time. It only took me 35 minutes.

I never did find the one student's folder. He said it had been missing for three days. I made a cursory search, and then I noted it in my note to the teacher.

I'm going to rest now. How was your day?

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