Well, I guess I should start by apologizing to the 3 people that read this blog since I haven't updated it since....well, it's been awhile.
I go back to school tomorrow, and I only have 2 1/2 months left.
In the spirit of the new year, let's run through the good and bad stuff that's happened since I left you hanging (all 3 of you).
Here we go:
We got to do some cool experiments in biology with eggs. Basically, Devin (the other science teacher candidate) and I put eggs in vinegar and let them sit for a few days, then rubbed the shells off. This leaves only the membrane behind, and provides a really cool model of a cell for showing diffusion and osmosis. Of course, this makes the rooms smell like vinegar and eggs, so there's that. Devin and I had a great 2 hour session of rubbing shells off eggs and just catching up; it was quite a treat in the climax of last quarter (the quarter from HELL). The students thought the eggs were totally nasty (they were RIGHT) but they had such awesome ideas about what was happening to them, and got really into designing experiments and talking science. It was great.
I bonded rather strongly with one of our biggest "troubled" students in our biology class. He informed me (this is the conversation in which we bonded) that he has 2 assault convictions, 1 residential burglary conviction, and 1 theft conviction. He is currently facing 2 more assault charges. Doesn't sound like the nicest guy, does he? But.....he really is quite a cool kid. He left for winter break, however, declaring he couldn't wait for the "party at his house tonight". After a few warnings from me about being safe and smart, he said, "Don't worry, Ms. Kramer, it's in an apartment complex. No one gets caught having parties in apartment complexes." Uhhhhh, yeah, kid, you have a lot to learn. :)
Major highlight: A student who normally sits back and feels intimidated by other students totally took charge of his lab group, "Well, we aren't going to get anything done unless we do what we need to do. So you have to listen to me now." It was amazing to see him take charge like that. Go, little science leader, go! :)
I have only been in our 5th period chemistry class on Fridays, since my fall class schedule (UW) didn't allow me to be there M-Th. The last week before break, I was able to go full-time to my school. On Monday, when I walked into 5th period, one student said, "Ms. Kramer? MS. KRAMER'S HERE, GUYS!" and EVERYONE in the class cheered for me. It had been a particularly hard day, and I had to fight from crying it made me so happy. Ahhhh, juniors and seniors. So much NICER than freshmen and sophomores......
The week before break unfortunately resulted in several suspensions and some expulsions for our students. Apparently this is normal in, at least, our school, to have chaos right before the breaks. One student attacked another in the hall, seemingly unprovoked and kept hitting her even though she wasn't fighting back. Another robbed a student before school of his backpack, iPod, wallet, and WINTER COAT. It was probably about 25 degrees that morning. Those two have been expelled, and it's really too bad because even though they obviously have trouble making good choices, they both had lots of potential. Especially the boy who robbed another student. He was so good at science, but just didn't see it as something that was worthwhile to him. These are the students who motivate me to teach. :)
A student came up to me after our last class before break and whispered, "Ms. Kramer, when are you going to teach us again? I really like when you teach."
An ELL student who I speak Spanish to the most (and badly) gave me a Christmas card. He wrote in Spanish AND translated it to English, and there might be a little "Spanglish" (Naviday). SO cute, and warmed my heart just in time for winter break because I have been working hard to encourage him to use English in class.
In my "non-teaching life" (which, let's face it, doesn't really exist), I have been snowshoeing, visiting, relaxing, enjoying local jazz shows, concerts, and just spending time with the lovely people in my life that I never get to see (read: my boyfriend and my roommates......pathetic, right?).
Things are starting up again, and I'm heading into the new quarter (UW) teaching chemistry this time. More on that later..... :)