Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer Vacation

Out of the frying pan, into the fire, so to speak. School ended, company came, the graduate graduated, the company left and I was right back at school, since somewhere along the way I agreed to tutor students who did not pass the state-mandated exit exam.

It's been an learning experience.

I have a group of about 25 students, from which about 10 show up on any given day. Some are dedicated. One young lady even brought her two young babysitting charges with her one day so she wouldn't miss the 2-hour tutoring session. The children, roughly age 8, sat quietly in the hall and waited and I felt terrible because I didn't even have any crayons to offer them. The dedicated ones are "getting it", this time around.

Then there are those who see the tutoring sessions as 2-hour time blocks in which to text-message their friends. They are not "getting it".

Sweaters and socks for CIC have been accumulating in a box since mid-April. In the record-setting Texas June weather, it's hard to imagine wearing all that wool...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

By the Numbers

36 (+1 for finals that I hadn't figured in up front) down. Zero to go. The first year is over.

Some numbers for the records:

140 - Number of students on my roster on the first day of school.
156- Number of students who were on my roster at some point in the year.
120 - Number of students on my roster by the end of school.

1 - Number of physics students who dropped the class.

6 - Classes assigned to me.

3 - "Preps", or unique classes assigned to me.

4 - Number of Physics students who went the entire year without ever turning in a homework assignment

4 - Number of Physics students who failed the class

3 - Number of Physics students who failed the class by fewer than 10 points (Note to the wise: Homework counts for 10% of the grade)

90 - Percentage of Physics students who said "Homework" was their least favorite part of class
95 - Percentage of physics students whose advice to next year's class would be "Do the homework"

1 - Number of blank notecards allowed to fill with formulas to use during tests.
1.8 - Average number of "new" notecards required per student.
13 - Maximum number of "new" notecards requested by a single student. That would for each of 12 tests, and one for the final.

70 - Number of "2 for a dollar" lab notebooks purchased at the beginning of the year
6 - Number of lab notebooks still in the box at end of year

250 - number of short, eraserless "golf pencils" taken from the spare pencil cup
Innumerable - number of complaints that "These pencils don't have an eraser!"
Equal to above - Number of times I said "Too bad. Next time, bring your own pencil"

1 - Number of "feature movies" shown during class time. ("October Sky")
Large - Number of students who suddenly developed an interest in model rocketry.
10 - Number of model rockets launched at least once
18 - Number of rocket engines used
4 - Number of model rockets sacrificed to the education gods and to the delight of students

Unknown - Number of marbles and bouncy balls which disappeared over the course of the year

96 - Percentage of my Junior students who passed the exit level state science test

12 - Number of seniors in all my classes combined

12 - Number of those seniors who graduated this week

They are a varied and fascinating group, these seniors. Nearly half speak English as their second language. There's a talented musician and a phenomenal photographer and an impressive dancer. Two of them graduated in three years. Two have signed on with the military. Some are going to college, one hopes to be an architect. Others are already a part of the work force.


Thanks for your hard work, the laughter and for your patience with the novice teacher.

The numbers are all in your favor, now. Make the best of them.

I couldn't be prouder of you if you were my own.