Thursday, September 12, 2013

Suddenly Teaching History...

At the end of last term, my timetable suddenly changed. It was always going to happen, because my students had to change from three periods of Woodwork to three period of Foods and their Foods teacher doesn't work Mondays and neither does their maths or Music teacher (well, she does, but not at our campus), or their science teacher, who is also their Foods teacher, or their history or art teacher. The original plan was that I would do ALL my English classes in one day, plus Pathways (the homeroom subject) and by the way, I would get back my ESL students, who would get no ESL support even though the ESL teacher was willing, because it would mean jiggling her timetable too. I was team teaching on Friday with another English teacher(see my post about Lit Circles) and with my Pathways colleague Jasna, and in the middle of our joint Year 8 project.

So some fiddling around was done and I got back one Friday English and the Pathways class on Wednesday. The ESL students get at least one period of ESL, even if they do have to share with Year 7.

But there was a price to pay. I had to take over one period of history, while the history teacher got landed with a period of Health. Neither of us was happy, but we have had to make the best of it and, in my case, be thankful - it could have been worse, my entire Lit Circles and Pathways projects could have been destroyed.

I am not a history teacher, though I know history in general. While the theme was the Renaissance and the Reformation, I was okay. I supported my colleague with some research periods and some Horrible Histories. Now they're doing Japan. When I ask what I can do, she tells me she doesn't know - she is still working it out herself, never having done this before. Now, it's not that I know nothing about Japan. My friend Nikki White, the Japan Librarian at the National Library, would be very annoyed with me if I didn't know anything after all these years. I just don't know what to do with the kids or what they have done in the last couple of weeks. I showed a video introducing Japan and prepared a research sheet that was also an introduction. But what now? They've had their introduction. I am tempted just to find something bizarre and over the top and make them research it. At least they'd enjoy it. I just don't know what - and their regular teacher is not currently any help. I don't blame her. But I need help and have very little time to get something put together.


Stand by - I will report further next week.

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