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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Enjoying going to school

Today we continued with Our Town with the juniors and Frankenstein with the seniors. One junior class pronounced the play "boring", which is true to a certain extent. The play is about everyday life in a small town. But when one gets to the final act, which takes place in the town cemetery, I hope that they can see Wilder's point that every day life is something extraordinary. My final class of the day got to the wedding scene in the second act, and they were at bit more engaged in what was happening. The idea of two people falling in love and getting married has universal power. I hope that my students at least take away from this experience the idea that love and committment are beautiful things, something they should aspire to have in their lives. Frankenstein has its own archetypal power. The movie version we are watching is first rate. I participated in data survey today about students in the hall. We stopped students to ask them why they were in the halls rather than in class. It has always been a big problem in our school. What my interviews seemed to suggest was most students were there due to two reasons: they had been in end of instruction testing or they were in one of our many classes presently being covered by substitutes. We are using an extraordinary number of substitutes, or subs as we call them, because of several factors. First, we have to two people in the room for every group we test. One has to be a certified employee, usually a teacher. We can cover some classes with other teachers, but we don't often have enough to cover them all. Second, we have many teachers this year out long term due to illness, maternity or early retirement. We also have some teachers out short term. We've had some illness, but we have also had teachers exhausted by the stress we have been under.
I, however, have seemed to have found my second wind. I'm really enjoying coming to school. I am liking the challenges that I am facing, and I feel as if I finally understand some things I should be doing. Of course, it's about time. We have just 3 weeks to go in the term.

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