February is a month of contradictions, and frustrations. It is a wonderful month in education because half the month is spent with four day work weeks due to holidays. But, in my district, in my school, in my department, it is also the most frustrating and hard to deal with instruction wise.
In hindsight, I should have planned the research project for next month for my 11th graders.
We've spent this week introducing, picking topics, and creating thesis statements for a persuasive research project on a debatable issue (read: controversial before a parent took umbrage). This is the assignment of the semester and will make or break the students (and not just mine, but all 11th graders). It's actually gone very well, and the students are pretty engaged in finding their topics and creating their thesis statements. It's been kind of cute how they are all asking me to check their thesis statements for them. So far, this has been a good week (well, not on my feet). Having the Chromebooks in class has been super helpful with this because I don't have to worry about setting aside time in a computer lab, and I can monitor what my students are doing instead of crossing my fingers and hoping they are doing it at home.
The problem is that next week is a four day week that leads into a four day weekend, that leads into another four day week. Normally, I love four day weeks. But, next week is also registration for the 11th graders. That means, that I only have two instructional days to work with the students on the digital "handout" for evaluating their sources and taking notes on said sources.
I thought it wouldn't be a big deal at first, but then, I realized that the following four day week, I will be pulled out for grading district assessments for two days, again, only leaving me with two days of instructional time with the students to create a preliminary outline and annotated bibliography. The students would be spending two days with a substitute and there is no way I'm giving the sub and the students access to the Chromebooks for two days while I'm out. NO WAY. Ultimately, I don't trust subs, and with good reason since I once had one allow students onto my computer where they changed their grades. However, technology is needed for just about all of the pre-writing process of this project, so I'll have to put that on hold for two days while I'm away and have them do something stand alone. I know I could just assign it for them to do at home, but I know that most of them won't, and I feel it's best if I'm there to guide them and make sure they are doing it right. Their future 12th grade teachers can thank me later.
It's just so frustrating to realize that you only have 14 instructional days in a month. I miss the days when I was in school and we filled out a registration form and turned it in and crossed our fingers until we got our schedule in the summer.