Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Archive for August 2014

teacherI’m getting grief from my wife.  After 11 years of teaching, she’s starting to give me grief about my current career.  She doesn’t like that we can’t take vacations anymore, not like we used to.  She works all summer and I am finally not.  I don’t make the money I used to make in sales, not even close.  I’m not working in the summer and she’s heading off to work.

I’ve found a couple of articles about teachers going back to school, but they are mostly written for women teaching elementary school.  Male teachers married to women who aren’t teachers – we need a support group.  I need to talk about some of this, I’m stressed out.  My wife is asking me about getting back into manufacturing sales.  I don’t want to do that, I love what I do.  If I can make it just 10 more years, I’ll should have a pension that pays me half my meager salary every year.

So I’m not stressed out about shopping for my classroom, putting up posters (I had kids do it the last week of school), or oversleeping.

Here’s what I am stressed out about:

  1. Just being ready to start teaching 6 different courses (2 are at the community college).  Once again, I’m teaching a course for the first time, Trig/Pre-Calc.  That means a lot more work, especially since I will be using Standards-Based Grading in the course.  More importantly, having the mental focus to do all of it well.
  2. A lack of control – of who I have as students, the number of students in the class, the class schedule, having time for exercise and a healthy meal.
  3. The first couple of weeks are brutal on my body – finding time for bathroom breaks, teaching non-stop, talking until my throat is raw, being “on” at 8am, and teaching until 9pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.
  4. Back to school orientation where we learn about administrative changes, new paperwork, rule changes, and basically sitting too long doing nothing when I have a million things to do.
  5. Putting on long pants and shoes.  Seriously, I’m going to look like one of those scratchy sweater kids for the first couple of weeks.  I’m not sure my school clothes will fit.  I’m sure I can teach in shorts and flip-flops, I’ll wear a shirt with a collar if that will help.
  6. Grading.
  7. Keeping my mouth shut when I want to chew out a lazy teacher for being beyond useless.

I’ve tried to get started on my lesson planning, and it helps a little, but I really need the routine to get underway.  It’s kind of the same feeling before playing a team sport.  You can practice all you want and you are nervous waiting for it to start, but once the whistle blows, you are in the zone and it all just clicks.  Can I do this 10 more times?




What’s New in 2013/2014?

Every year brings a change, this one is no exception.

I will be picking up the sophomore honors Algebra II class to keep them separate from the juniors. This should help accelerate them and put them on a stronger track towards Calculus. Looks like there will be only one section each of Physics and Calculus, but still two of Robotics & Engineering.

Hot topics this year are going to be the Common-Core Standards, Standards-Based Grading (SBG), improving AP Calculus scores, and somehow adding Python, maybe as a club.

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August 2014
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