Teaching in Hawaii: The First Quarter

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I am, literally, walking into my second quarter of teaching here in Hawaii. Monday, today, is the start of a brand new quarter. I am excited, relieved and most of all, happy I have made it this far.

I have a lot I need to work on. Like, gracious me, there are a hundred and one meetings that I have to attend and I need to find a better way to keep track of it all. I plan on buying a new planner here in a few for the upcoming year, but that isn’t going to help me much at the moment.

This first quarter has had a lot of ups and downs.

I have learned I really do love teaching, there really is no other job I would rather do, in the world. I love my science team and department. I am learning to get along with my team as I have started to get to know some of them better, at this point.

Classroom management isn’t too bad. I have a few kids that are very challenging but overall, day to day, no big deal by any means. I am changing up my punishments a little. I don’t like taking all of their recess time for infractions so I have decided one warning is free, after that it is 5 minutes per warning for a same or similar infraction (mostly a concern during lab work).

I have learned to pick my battles. I do not have lab stool for my lab tables, so they have taken to sitting or laying on the tables during lab. I used to care and now I don’t. Is it really a big deal if they are laying down while working with no liquids or hazardous materials? Personally, I really don’t think so. Similar to my study hall group. I question and talk to them about their grades and why they are failing a class, but the reality is they are 8th graders and it is high time they start to advocate for themselves and be proactive about their education. I have no idea what they are missing or have for homework in other classes. So, past drilling them on why they are failing a class that is not mine, I can’t really do a whole lot. I let them chat, decompress. They talk to me about personal things and I mediate disagreements. It is still a positive use of time, for the most part.

It took me about half the quarter but I figured out a daily schedule that I like and seems to work well for my students. They now hate that they have bell work, which is a requirement of the school, it just took me a while to find something I found advantageous and that didn’t take up a ridiculous amount of time. Tomorrow they have an easy peasy bell work, three favorite things you did over break and then we will share and transition to talking about our field trip. I have to tell them their jobs, what day they are going and hopefully we will have time to do a stations activity. If not, we will just transition that over to other days this week.

Honestly, the hardest part has been learning our schedule. I see each class 4 times a week, we get our an hour early one day a week, and I do not see two periods, on a rotating basis, once a week. Thank goodness I have these schedules printed out and hanging on the board. I would never know what was happening.

I really do love what I am doing. I am sad that fall break is over, but, a small part of me is excited to get back to work. Only 16 school days until our next day off!

I will add, I love our days off because they are almost always days that my husband gets off too. So, we get some quality time that we rarely get during the work week.

I hope you all are doing well. I am going to try and get back into posting here, at least once a week. I know that is not a lot, but I don’t want to over-commit. I do a lot at work. Averaging about 50-60 hours a week. There is a huge district grant program where we have to implement a project, science fair, a field trip and then the state testing. Just, so much.

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