Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I am really tied down teaching this year. By which I mean I have to stay in my seat period after period working intensively with some very needy kids who can't be left to work independantly. Many of my groups are smaller, but I only have an assistant two days a week, so I'm having to take the iron bladder option the other three days.

This is where the limits of the NCLB program for my school become more obvious. I am supposed to be a supplemental program for reading and math, remedial not special ed. But many of my kids are probably special ed level though Chicago Public Schools would do their best to make sure they get no services. One child I have is actually from a special ed setting but was getting bullied in his school so the mother sent him to us, knowing we can't provide him with the intensive services he qualifies for, but also knowing that he won't make that much progress anyway. He's functioning at a first grade level though age-wise he's a fifth grader. I see him every chance I can get, but he's usually with a fairly large group of kids which makes the one on one teaching he needs impossible.

I have a number of students who test below the 10th percentile, meaning they need intense remediation and close to one on one teaching. Especially since several are in the first and second grades and are not yet reading, they have to sound out almost every word of every work page out loud to me. Incredibly time consuming. Having two of these children together totally ties me down.

My older groups have students who are also really low. It's hard to get to them and give them the extra time they need. I have one break period everyday except Tuesday but I'm working with kids before school and after school. So its straight sit-down-next-to-the-child teaching from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m.

Since I see these kids year after year I do see progress over time. In fact, the average increase in test scores over the years I see the children is @15%.

A number of the fourth graders I see are making great progress. Several have graduated from the reading program and are coming only for math. They are eager beavers and a pleasure to work with. They have sweet natures and are very loving. They absolutely love me and love to come to my classroom. All the fourth grade girls I see are in after school care and I made my after school class out of this group of girls. I figured they'd be the easiest and most rewarding group I could teach when I'm starting to run out of teaching gas. I was right.

It is dfficult to come home and not eat a lot and get my excercise, too. I'm getting home later, I'm really hungry by then and mentally tired. Writing in this blog is becoming more difficult.

Plus my son and his 3 year old have been coming over almost every night to shower and bathe respectively since their bathroom has been dismantled. I can't ignore my granddaughter. So the blog is taking a back seat for a while. I am still doing well with the food, though I can't exercise as much as during the summer.

I've also got a few conventions to go to and a couple of reunions.

Life is busy. Life is difficult. Life is good.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.