Last year I started to wonder what it would be like to teach a new course, because I've taught the same courses for a while now. I guess I made the fates laugh heartily, because guess what happened?!?
This year I'm teaching grade 10 science for the first time. I had taught science and physics in the very distant past, but I am a math teacher by trade and by comfort. New course? Check.
But the science isn't the only new thing. The students in my class happen to be teen moms, who are in a program and a school designed for their particular situation. Which means that they aren't able to do much, if any, homework between classes. So no flipped-class videos either! Whatever happens, has to happen during class. New student situation? Check. New strategy? Check.
AND there is a provincial exam at the end of the year, which they have to pass in order to graduate from high school. Just so long as there isn't too much pressure!
Week one: In which I go to an actual school
Last week was my first week with the girls, and since their school isn't far from here, I drove downtown to meet them face-to-face. (If you're wondering why a teacher would even mention this, just know that I teach online, and don't usually get to meet my students.) We had a friendly chat, and I got to meet their babies, because the nursery is right there in the school. Which one girl said made it hard sometimes, because when you hear your baby cry and you can't go to them, it hurts. I certainly get that.
It was especially important for me to meet these students right away, because if anything is going to get them through this year, it'll be relationships. Sometimes when you're tired and fed up, the only thing that makes you show up is that you like the person or people you're going to see. I hope that's how they'll feel.
Week two: Atoms & baby germs
This week so far has been good in the sense that I've gotten a lot done during class - so far, we've done the different models of the atom, electron configuration, and the periodic table. But there have been a lot of absences already - you know how it is when you're exposed to baby germs, the strongest germs known to man or woman. I really have no idea how to deal with that.
Behold all the science things!
For the last two weeks, it's been Christmas for me. I got to open the Science folder in Smart Notebook's Gallery - woo hoo there's gold in there! And now all those gorgeous geogebras that people made for science? They're mine to covet! That part's been fun - I always felt like science people just had more stuff!
An Act of Love
The greatest impact of all is that I met with the ladies who run this program. They are so passionate, devoted, no-nonsense, and team-oriented that I feel like I've been hit with a lucky stick just to work with them. I've met only a few people in my life that I could honestly say this about, but what these ladies do every day is an act of love. It's hard work, it doesn't pay a lot, it's not glamorous, and sometimes the people you're trying to help only get that long after they've exited the building. But they do it because they love it and they know it's important and they own the job.
Kind of like what moms do for their kids.