I've just got to share the good stuff I read.

I love to read. I read every chance I get. If I read something really good, I want to share it with my friends and co-workers. I make copies of magazine articles, read aloud to my students, tell others about good books I'm reading, and keep a book with me at all times.

I love teaching and learning new things. I need a place to share some of the lessons and what my students and I learn. Since my teaching situation is different from everyone else's in my school, I would like to tell all of you in the blog-o-sphere about these great lessons.

Feel free to share what you are reading, teaching and learning with us in the comments.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Testing, testing, and more testing

So every April for the past several years I have administered an English proficiency test to my students. Usually I have the whole month of April to give 50 to 60 students this test.

Four years ago, I think, we found some students at other schools who also had to be tested and I went to those schools to test another ten students.

Then things got out of hand. My numbers went up and the numbers of students at other schools who needed to be tested went up, too.

So... I trained the counselors at other schools to give the test but I continued to give the speaking part at those schools. The speaking part is the most difficult to score and I wanted to make sure that the students were fairly tested.

Last year increasing numbers prompted me to ask the counselors to take over the whole test. I did not feel it was fair to neglect my students to go to other schools.

This year testing has been completely crazy. The students have been tested to exhaustion. They have been STAR tested in reading and math, Academy of Reading and Math tested, and 9 weeks tested.
They have had 5 days of PARCC testing and face 3 more days of PARCC tests in May. The 3rd graders and kindergartners had state reading tests, too.

The last straw is there have been problems with the test I have to give. We received the tests 17 days late. The wrong grade level was assigned to 38 of my 84 students. Extra tests had to be ordered.

Summer can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

And the answer is 'no'

Sad day today. The answer that I have been waiting for, sure that it was going to be 'yes' since I am eternally an optimist, well, the answer was 'no'. We are going in another direction. We don't want you and your experience, expertise, and opinions.

Really disappointed.

My mind had begun to dream about what fun a new start would be. How great it would be to have a small group of well fed, loved, smart children with whom I would share a year long learning adventure.

It's not that the students I work with now aren't smart or loved, they are. But the testing is out of control, the numbers I work with are ridiculous, and I HATE that trailer classroom.

Now I don't know what to do. I don't see myself in the horrible trailer for another year. Do I check out  other private schools? Look into consultant work? Ask to go back to the regular classroom. Move to another school in the same system? Or take the crumbs from the rejectors and be a substitute or tutor. I don't know.

This is the pre-school I visited in Toronto. So many good ideas in one place.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Recharging at TESOL Conference

A week or so ago I went to the 2015 TESOL conference in Toronto. I signed up for a school visit.

Here are some of the languages spoken in this school. The librarian has found books in the home languages of the children. Great way to validate culture.

There is a math room that students get to visit and where they explore math concepts.

All the students are kindergarten age- fours are Junior Kindergartners and fives are Senior Kindergartners. They use an inquiry based curriculum. I loved it.

Finally got to hear one of my TESOL heroes: Dr. Jim Cummins.

He shared these examples of Evidence-Free Policy. I so agree with everything he said.

Attending conferences is one professional activity that really helps me recharge my love of teaching.