I sort of made myself a promise this year that I'd try to be a bit more reflective on a regular basis. For a lot of teachers that means blogging everyday, which would be amazing, some year I will aspire to that, but it won't be this year.
My goal is to do so at least once a week though and since the first week of school just finished, I better get to work or I'm already behind.
To start off the year, I knew it was going to be rough at the outset. I'm teaching 7 instead of the normal 6 classes, and additionally adding on a different AP (Environmental Science) class that I have only a minimal amount of content for from 4 years ago. Things could have potentially gotten a little easier when we decided to cut Organic this year because of lack of students signed up.
Actually, the real reason turned out to be more the schedule. We are a small high school (>650) that actually has a lot of electives, so inevitably there will be conflicts and Organic fell to AP Biology, which is fine, might be better for those kids to take APBio in any case in the long run and it gives me a full year to make some serious changes to the course.
The real kicker came when it became apparent that I was double booked during one block. That couldn't be resolved in any good way, but the way it was resolved was a big hit to me. I'm picking up an Honor Physical World Concepts class this year (think Conceptual Physics for Freshmen). It has been 12 years since I last taught any sort of physics class, and I honestly didn't enjoy it a ton when I did. Then, as now, I did it out of necessity.
As an actual professional, I will do my best by these kids. They had nothing to due with the unfortunate way it turned out and deserve the best. It does mean though that I'm down to only one section of Chemistry I, which means that our plans to have heterogeneous classes (Honors and CP together) are only a small part of my year, though I was the initiator and the biggest proponent of that plan. I feel awful, because now my two other Chemistry I teachers, who are either moderately new to teaching or brand new to Chemistry, now have to bear disproportionate amounts of what some might deem a crazy plan to begin with.
To be clear, the 7 courses thing was entirely my idea, but that was when I thought I'd have no brand new preps (though still 5 preps in a way, CP, Honors, AP and Organic Chem, APES), now I've gone to 5 preps with one that I am completely at a loss for and I am spending a silly amount of time trying to get my feet under me in that class.
In other words, even for my school, the year is off to an interesting start. I was mad as all get out for about 5-6 days after I got that bomb dropped on me. I've reached an internal accommodation with it, but still wish things could have worked out differently.
But on the plus side, classes have started, and as I suspected, as soon as I had actual real live students in front of me, a lot of those cares eased. The work load will still be murderous, I've still spent way too many weekend hours preparing, but in the end, the kids in front of me make it all worthwhile.