I apologize, it's been a whole semester since I posted. Getting back in the swing of things after being on mat-leave last year has proven to be difficult in terms of time management. Learning to find some sort of balance between work and life at home has been key. As the first semester winds down and a new one approaches, it'll be nice to meet a new batch of kids who are (hopefully!) wide-eyed, bushy-tailed and rearing to go!
One of the highlights of the term has been a lot of positive feedback from students and their parents. Our new department head has given us a lot more liberty to teach in ways that emphasize really enjoying a few texts, as opposed to cramming in a larger, unnecessary, quantity of manditory material. I had time to get my grade nines up and acting out many scenes from Romeo and Juliet, they became emotionally invested in the play and were left aghast at the brief rollercoaster relationship between the young lovers, and yes, there were tears when we compared both death-scenes from the 1968 and 1995 films. To Kill a Mockingbird was then introduced with gusto: I created a lesson that had students creating quick-fire presentations on topics that ranged from public lynchings to a young boy facing racism in a nearby community today. The extra pressure of my Teacher Performance Appraisal, with the principal sitting in for the entire lesson, actually made the students' presentations much more dynamic and engaging -- they made me proud.
With exams starting tomorrow, I've begun planning ahead. I've tweaked my autobiography cover assignment (see two posts below) into another version that is a visual-verbal collage and one that is a series of blog posts so that I don't have to read/mark 75+ of the same assignments next semester. I am fortunate enough to teach ENG1D again as well as 2D and 3U. The students will hopefully be keen, but the marking will be insane if I don't plan what I evaluate carefully. Part of my resolution for next term will be to post more on this blog as a way of self-reflection on my teaching strategies... Wish me luck!