Thursday, January 21, 2010

Almost Normal

My school, being a charter, makes some creative decisions about, well, pretty much everything. Take, for example, our calendar. Like most schools, our academic year is broken up into two semesters. During that time kids take five classes (math, science, English, social studies, and Spanish) and a study hall. For the elective portion of their high school experience (art, music, things that they might look forward to) we have two month-long intersession periods at the end of each semester. Kids choose one elective to focus on, and then spend the whole month just doing that. For example, they might have dance class from 8:30-2:45 for 4 weeks. Our first academic semester ended in December, so we are now right in the middle of our first intersession.

You may be wondering (as am I), what do the teachers do during this time? Unfortunately it is not time off, nor is it time when we can teach elective classes. Instead, we spend time in "professional development," which means anything from traditional workshops about various teaching topics, to spending hours upon hours talking about and voting on proposals to improve the school, to community building. I am withholding judgment at this point.

What I will say is awesome about intersession is that I'm not teaching. Not that I don't love teaching (?), but it's really nice to arrive at school at 8:15, to leave before 6pm, to not plan lessons, to actually devote a reasonable amount of time to planning lessons, and to go to the bathroom whenever I need to. The best part, by far, is that when I leave school for the day, I'm actually leaving school. I'm not doing more work at home, I don't have to eat dinner while checking school email and typing a worksheet, I don't carry around a giant bag of grading. It reminds me of the good old days of office work when, at 5pm, I could stop whatever I was doing, go do things that normal people do, and not think about work until I returned the next morning to pick up where I left off. I don't even know what to do with all this time on my hands. The other day I went to the grocery store, we've finally watched and returned the Netflix DVDs we got last March, and I think I've been to the gym more in the past three weeks than in the past three months put together.

What will happen come February 1 when I have to actually teach a class again? The responsible person inside of me says that I should spend some time now preparing for the upcoming semester so that I won't have to spend quite so much time in quicksand mode. The realist says that there are many, many episodes of The Office that could use some re-watching.


Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to hear whether this is a good mental break for you, and for whether you are refreshed for the next semester. When do you get the next month-long intercession?

Credit said...

Sounds like a perfect time to teach some kids how to play Equations (Or On-Sets, Ling, Wff, Prop or Pres) ;-)