2019-2020 End of Week 3: Careful Balance/Family Stories

2019-2020 End of Week 3: Careful Balance/Family Stories

2019-08-28 twinsies with Mr. Sharp

Beginning my fourth year teaching at Fitzgerald, my 25th year teaching, I’m reminded of something a student said some time during my early years that this teaching thing should be really easy for me now that I’ve been doing it for a couple of years. Ha! I love it, but “easy” is never a word I’ve ever used in connection with what I’ve been doing for the past 24-years. And I was determined to get ahead of all the things that almost killed me last year. Well, at least that was the plan.

Day one was a disaster, I felt like I was getting pressure about things that had nothing to do with the day-to-day flow of the classroom (like a bulletin board…), and my stomach decided to “disfunction” last week AND this week. Yeah. Awesome beginning to the new school year. But I was determined to get all student logins reset and deal with the moving target that is student assignments, etc., etc., etc. I also plugged into a teacher-support FaceBook group that encouraged creating a spreadsheet so that you can track actual “work hours,” the idea being you can’t fix something that you don’t have actual data on. Turns out beginning with the half week we reported in before students reported plus the first two weeks of instruction I logged 157 hours (while being paid for 104…).

2019-09-01 work hours tracking spreadsheet

So besides resetting over 400 student passwords and recording student images for my seating chart we began this past week a unit on “Documenting Your Journey,” collecting personal and family biographical information that will be used next week to either record a video on personal/family stories (primary students) or will be used to create a Google Slideshow (intermediate students). I shared my own personal/family story how the decision my grandfather I’m named after effected my life and the importance of telling my story and my family’s story because if I don’t others will and are likely to get the story wrong. Also, it turns out that I got a few facts wrong in my video (see the note below). Because some students will create a video from their family stories, I created my example video…

Video Errata: After I recorded the video I found out from my mom that the family made the train trip in 1915, not 1918 and two of the first kids born died early on, so eleven not thirteen were raised to adulthood. Any family member with more information on the trip in 1915 and the early years in San Gabriel are welcome to add to the story in the comments below. 

This year we switched to Google Classrooms as the app used to manage and turn-in student work. I’ll need to experiment tomorrow to see how that might work turning in the paper forms I distributed last week and photos I assigned students to bring in and then pivot to taking the recorded/digitized student work and create the Google Slides documents. One change from the original plan was to number the units as their sequential unit instead by a “week” designation because sometimes it would take longer than a single week to finish the unit (when I got sick, delayed deployment of the unit…).

I really need to find the balance needed to stay ahead of the daily demands of the job without losing all the good that I love about this life.

While taking pictures for my seating chart these two kindergarteners naturally held hands while I took their picture


    1. joe bustillos

      Yeah, thank god dad stopped doing the ladder stuff latter in life… though I remember a story about Creagan having to argue with him because he was micro-managing Creagan while on a roof… ah, the good ol’ days.


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