It's been two weeks since I blogged about school. I've blogged, in fact, exactly twice this entire month so far. That's because I've been at school 11 or 12 hours a day, and working my tail off on weekends, since Thanksgiving break. I'ma shoot myself soon if this keeps up!
Not really. I'm writing report cards, and at the lovey-dovey charter school it's done different. There's no grade book with an average score that I type into the BCPSS system at the end of the semester; I have to look at growth for each skill and decide on current levels of understanding, and have proof with which I can justify my grades, and I have to keep in mind learning styles and IEPs and all that other jazz. It's philosophically the way I want to do grades if I have to, but it takes a beastly long time. Humanities teachers have it particularly rough because we report on two subject areas: Social Studies and Language Arts, and we have to come up with a trimester grade for five or six different learning targets for each, and narrative comments, and a section on reading and language assessment data, and behavior comments: it takes between 30 and 45 minutes to write most of these report cards. Multiply that times 65 kids, and add in the usual planning and assessment and teaching time, and you're talking brutal long ass days.
But because I worked my tail off I have only 7 cards left to write tomorrow, and then I won't have anything to do this weekend. Next week the kids present their learning at student-led conferences, so they only have classes on Monday, and SLC prep means no planning. Tuesday I have my homeroom kifd all day to get them ready to present and then I just chill and watch the shows Wed and Thursday, with a couple planning meetings for next trimester here and there.
Writing report cards has been exhausting but also rewarding. Many of my 7th graders made vast improvements from last year to this; the hard work we did last year to teach them class routines, to work on their characters, to build intrinsic motivation, is starting to bear fruit. I wrote some rock star report cards for kids who were C students last year. I'm loving that.