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Back to work

Monday: First day with entire staff. Big speech and introduction from our superintendent. That didn't last long. Got split up into groups to participate in Dragon Chef. We get a list of special ingredients that were supposed to turn into dishes to serve at a huge pot luck. Here was our list.

We had too many chefs in our group to really help, but I took advantage of the opportunity to chat with several new and returning staff. Heard about what everyone did during their summers and passed along some helpful tips to new staff. Our group worked at Avi and Patrick's apartment. They hail from Colorado. We all returned to campus and shared our dishes. I ended up having too many conversations with people and missed out on eating. A bit unexpected for me. Such is life.

Ended my day by trying to get my receipts turned in so I could get my airfare from the summer reimbursed. isn't being very helpful, but I've got a few days to get it worked out. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday: got the receipts figured out and turned in my paperwork. All good in the hood. Also had some other start of the year paperwork to turn in. Nice to get ahead of things and not procrastinate.

Too many start of the year teacher meetings to count. Enjoyed the time with my math department, but I'm struggling with telling them I won't be here next year. I'll do it tomorrow at some point.

I had an interesting conversation with my principal Fursey today. We were discussing the start of a new year and trying new things. I've got a couple of management things I'm going to focus on.

  1. Cell phones. I purchased a calculator caddie and hung it on the wall near my door. When students enter my room they'll deposit their phone in an assigned slot. They pick it up in the way out the door at the end of class.

  2. Language. Students would often speak in Chinese in my class. It was too far into the year to make policy changes last year when I realized this was an issue. This year students will be told English is expected. They're being prepped to leave a China for college. Their parents are paying a premium to have their kid get an English education. It's an English speaking classroom. It's on me to hold them to this standard.

The conversation evolved into "practice", about getting better. Learning and improving. Trying different things each school year. Later in the day it made me reframe the discussion into evaluating process versus results. I try to stay process oriented as much as possible. Focusing on results as a means of self evaluation is a bad idea in my opinion. My buddy Steve heard me say it often when talking about golf. It's all practice. A lifetime of practice. That's me being processed oriented. I believe strongly that if I keep that focus results will take care of themselves. With this thought in mind, I should reach my peak as a teacher during my final year as a teacher. I would feel pretty good if I can make that a reality.

Back to the grind of preparing for next week...

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Well that sounds fun.

Wondering about the cell phone caddy. I had broached the subject some years ago (some of you may know that I am militantly opposed to kids having cell phones at school at all) and various objections were raised. Can't remember now what they were but maybe you do Dave? I've had the "threshold rule" for several years. Phones in backpacks before you walk in my door, don't come out til after you leave. I confiscate them at the drop of a hat. Works decently except that students regularly try to hide them in baggy clothes or sneak them out before "going to the bathroom". They are probably successful more often than I'd like to …


Interesting. I actually use named popsicle sticks but numbered would mean I wouldn't have to have the kids write their names on ps. Hmmm.

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