I’ve been teaching for about 2 and a half weeks now. My first full week was exhausting but good. My second week was discouraging with a glimmer of hope, and my third week is going well and I’m starting to feel like I’m in a place where I’m able to plan more than just one day at a time, and have a bit of free time to each day. The first 2 weeks had me working about 12 hours each day just to keep up. I’m starting to figure out what’s really important and what is interesting, but perhaps a waste of time at this point. As a first year teacher, I understand that much of the year may feel like a mere survival. I have had days where I’ve cried, wondering if I can do this more than even a few years. But I think I just need to learn how to balance, and I can see myself learning this already.
With no grading to do, as NZ schools don’t put a huge stress on this, I am free to spend my time working on other areas of my teaching. This is such a blessing. My students are mostly delightful. My year 11’s (aka grade 10) are beginning to get past that ‘testing the water’s’ stage. I have 24 of them in Science. It’s really interesting because I’m starting to think I tend to be a rather strict person in general which is really helpful in my teaching. I was afraid that my students would walk all over me, but they have been surprising me the last week or so, because they are so quiet in class, and they are taking notes. Many of them were rather frustrating the first week, trying to get away with doing nothing, but I’ve tried to stay consistent and I think it’s working.
My year 12’s (aka grade 11) are such nice kids. I have 10 in Chemistry. They enjoy being there and are for the most part good workers. I gave them a test today and can see they need quite a bit more work before the final assessment for the standard we are working on, but I’m hopeful that they will step up and do more revision (aka ‘study’).
My year 13’s (aka grade 12) are also very nice. Many of them are type A personalities and are taking both Biology and Chemistry. I have these classes back to back for 2 periods. Right now we are working on a standard in each class where they have to create their own investigation. In biology they are working with slaters (aka pill bugs, aka roly polies, aka wood lice). I am so excited about their ideas and what they have come up with. Some are testing the speed at which slaters move while exposed to different temperatures. One group is measuring the distance at which the slaters stop alternating turning in the opposite direction turn when forced to turn a specific direction. Others are testing the preference of humidity, food, and light level. In chemistry they are testing the effect of UV and temperature on chlorine in pool water. It’s such a learning experience even for me because I never did these types of assignments in high school.
One thing that has been very hard here is that New Zealand teachers have next to no resources to turn to when creating their units. This is hard because I’m the only chemistry teacher at this school and have no chemistry mentor. I’m doing alright, and am learning, but it’s a challenge. I’m thankful that we do have a chem technician that comes in to make solutions for me twice a week.
I enjoy it here very much. I’ve been blessed so much to be working at this school as my first school. The staff are so supportive and caring and the students are nice and for the most part respectful. I can see myself working here for many years. I have also met a wonderful young man at church and we are enjoying spending the weekends and other free time together. I took part in a triathlon last week. I was the swimmer of a 3 person team. To see more pictures of the last month click here. I wish I had more organised things to say in this post but I’ve been so busy that I’ve hardly had time to even think about blogging.