Yesterday, I had a meeting with my new principal. We discussed the curriculum a little bit — she gave me some handouts the teacher I am replacing made detailing the curriculum in a syllabus-style format. I got my teaching assignments. I will be teaching 10th grade Honors American Lit., 10th grade College Prep. American Lit., 9th grade College Prep. Lit., Comp., and Grammar, 9th grade College Prep 2 Lit., Comp., and Grammar (a college prep. course for lower level students), and a study skills course. Before I go any further, from now on, College Prep. will be abbreviated CP. My fellow teacher readers might be freaking at the number of preps I have. Don’t worry. I am essential teaching only 2 preps with some differentiation for ability. The study skills course is something I have lots of ideas for already, too. I have taught similar courses before. My ex-husband referred to me once as “the anal-retentive student.” He’s not far off the mark. My notebook was always impeccable, and I made grade sheets for any classes that didn’t give me one so I could keep track of my average at all times. I plan to mold my students in that study skills class into little anal-retentives, too.
I will also be responsible for monitoring the CP 2 students — checking their progress in other class, making sure they’re not slipping through any cracks. The thing about teaching at a private school, is that if they can’t cut it academically in the CP 2 class, then they just don’t stay at the school. That’s a new concept. Public schools are required to educate every student in their school zone, regardless of ability. Seems like this will be very different. I was also told that I shouldn’t hand out A’s. Yay! The pressure to give inflated grades has been so great for most of my career. Now, as long as I can justify the grades I’ve given through clear criteria and fairness, then I can give them. Students making D’s and F’s will most likely not stay at the school long or will be dropped to a lower level course (if there is one).
There are only three full-time English teachers. One of the counselors teaches the AP English Language course. Randall teaches 11th and 12th grade Brit. Lit., World Lit., and AP Literature. I have the 10th graders and some of the 9th. Sara, who will also be new and teaching for the first time, will take the rest of the 9th graders (Honors) and Humanities. I am not completely sure what all she’ll teach, to be honest. She was very nice. I met her yesterday, too.
If I understand the schedule correctly, I will teach 4 days a week. The 5th day I will be available for subbing (they do all their subbing in-house) or resource lab for tutoring English students. My classes meet 3 days a week for 80 minutes, then on Friday for 45 minutes. School will start earlier on Friday and get out earlier because of the Sabbath. Did I mention this was a private Jewish high school?
I am looking forward to learning more about Judaism. I am hoping to learn a bit of Hebrew. I find it very interesting. Hebrew lessons are included in a newsletter I used to receive from Zola Levitt.
The textbooks I am using are old. I don’t think it is because it’s a private school and funding is an issue. The copyright is 1989, and that was before the school was founded. I got an inkling as to the reason why we have these texts when Nanci, my principal, indicated she loves them dearly and they’re out of print, so please take of care of them. Aha! Nanci was an English teacher, and I believe that she just really took a liking to them. They are Scott, Foresman/Prentice Hall’s Literature series (Patterns in Literature: America Reads, Traditions in Literature: America Reads, United States in Literature: America Reads, and England in Literature: America Reads — I’m not sure if the World Lit. book is in the same series). It’s actually a good series. Same works as all the other textbooks. There’s less fluff (photos, pictures, flashy graphics) and more literary terms, analysis, and the like. Because it’s out of print, though, Nanci ordered teacher’s editions that had to be photocopied and bound. We have separate books for vocabulary, grammar, and writing, too. MLA handbooks. All kinds of things. I think I’ll want some dictionaries. Nanci asked me if I would. I need to read through them all and get familiar with them.
I am actually really getting excited to start, too.