Teaching in 2nd Year at an Alternative School

So yesterday began my 2nd year teaching. We had a half day. About half of my first period showed up (government/economics – 3 students), most of my 2nd period students showed up (U.S. history – 4 students), and almost all of my 4th period students showed up (world geography – 9 students). All of my new students were in 4th block which has more freshmen in it. All of my students in 1st and 2nd block were students I had last year in one of my other classes. It makes it easier to deal with them that’s for sure. You know what you’re getting and they know what they’re getting and I got along pretty well with all of them. I was much more prepared for yesterday than I was last year. Last year I completely went off the cuff. This year I had slides prepped and it ran about 20-25 minutes which was perfect for the 30 minute shortened schedule.

I thought I was more prepared for the first week. I had such good intentions to do some “student skills” type lesson plans. HA! That didn’t happen. So I don’t know what I’m going to do on Monday.

The best part of starting this school year is that it is in a new building and a new classroom. Even better than that is that my expectations are not just imagined, but based on last year’s realities. I’m not nervous about anything regarding what’s coming. I think last year took away that nervousness. I realize that my military past has prepared me to be adaptive, flexible, and spontaneous. If I had to say I was nervous about anything, it’s my 4th block class. There are some strong personalities in that class and the middle school teachers had extreme difficulty with them last year. But 9th grade can be a long way from 8th grade. Additionally, I’m a man with prior military experience and they don’t necessarily know what to expect because of that. That can make a boy change his behavior. I’m a lot more permissible with cutting and acting up than those two teachers were/are.

I think the best piece of advice I can give any new teacher is: Relax. Things will fall into place. Just focus on maintaining control of the classroom.

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