Year: 2018

Celebrating the End of the Marking Period

I love teaching. It has always been my career of preference from a young age. Perhaps it all started when I found a special teacher at school who I loved and admired. I started this blog to promote the profession and share the fun—and challenges. No two days are alike in the classroom and the students change year to year. I learn from them as much as they learn from me. Certain times of the year are noteworthy, and not just holidays and vacations. The end of the marking period is a big deal, too.

This year I got a bunch of my fellow teachers together for a party in the teachers’ lounge to celebrate this milestone once again. So much work gets done at this time of the semester and a reward is always welcome. It’s no big deal, but just enough to denote the end of another season of grading and evaluations. We have a cake, of course, and a few short speeches. It is a time of camaraderie and relaxation after a time of tension to meet deadlines. We bond as a group, a needed activity, since we spend so much time on our own.

We have one tradition that is a little different from other schools, or so I am told. We bring in a shredder from Shredder Lab and ceremoniously destroy our lesson plans as a group. It is a cathartic and oddly funny act. If a lesson or two went badly, we don’t feel a pang of regret at all. Instead, we hear loud cries of joy and laughter. Then life goes back to normal. It is all part and parcel of a teacher’s world, and  it is a wonderful world indeed. I never want to complain.

Other parties come at the end of the term right before vacation. We don’t shred anything –ha!—but we do relate where we are going and anything special that will be coming in our immediate futures. Then we are off on our own for several months, so we can be refreshed when the new school year begins in the fall.

Teaching is a very traditional career full of designated points of time during the year and multiple celebrations as mentioned above. Graduation is not the least of our regular routines, and everyone looks forward to this special event. This year, I am going to be practical and a bit sarcastic by suggesting we use old bags of shredded paper as confetti for the final party of the season. Now that is a way to repurpose some old trash. I wonder what the reaction will be. Given the routine nature of what we do, teachers have to get creative now and then to perk things up. This is my latest brainchild and I will let you know if it happens.

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds

There is no question that nutrition and exercise are tops on any least of “must do” to attain and keep good health—no matter your age. Somehow, however, in all the media attention, teens get lost in the shuffle. I guess they are left to fend for themselves or adults figure that it will be taken care of in school. Not so. There is no budget in the current educational system, at least in the state of Delaware, to provide programs that address student needs. What ever happened to “healthy bodies, healthy minds?”

My class and I do our best to study the benefits of good eating and the importance of lots of physical exercise, whether it is in gym class or out on the baseball field. This week we wanted to focus on water. How much should you drink to stay fit as a fiddle while you are still growing and developing?  No question about it: the eight glasses usually prescribed are right on. No one wants to carry that many water bottles around, so what do we do?

We decided to take it as a fitness challenge. The kids came up with all kinds of ideas. Since this age group is not as hysterical about filtered water as many self-conscious adults, many thought that refilling a water bottle at the school tap was just fine. Of course, there had to be a way to keep track and we created a check sheet that included the day of the week, the time of the first bottle, and an account of how many were consumed for the rest of the day.

The problem was that our water doesn’t taste good at all. There are chemicals no doubt in the system leaving an after taste that is less than pleasant. Most of the students concluded that they do, in fact, want filtered water. Some said their parents didn’t want to buy case after case and store it all in the already-crowded garage. Plus, it is always a pain to tote those big, bulky plastic-wrapped cases from the supermarket back home.

I did my research as the teacher I am and found that buying a water filter is far more cost-effective and really does a good job at improving water taste. I agreed to be the guinea pig and bought a unit for my kitchen sink. These devices are so easy to attach to any faucet. My report was so positive that all the kids wanted to follow suit. We just had to raise the money for each household. We decided on doing a fundraiser on Saturday, but which kind?

Here were our choices:

  • Bake sell with each mom contributing one item. We could also ask for donations from the local bakery.
  • Car wash in the school parking lot with flyers around town inviting locals to help support our effort.
  • Sell candy from a company that specializes in raising money for organizations, including schools.
  • Collecting plastic bottles for recycling

While these were all great ideas and everyone was more than enthusiastic, we tabled the decision since the students’ families all chipped in to make the group effort successful. We will just have to do some kind of fundraising for another cause.