Who’s Counting? Five

The side effects from my second booster lingered all the way through the day yesterday, so that by the time I went to bed, I felt worse than I had all day. After another bout with some chills and uncontrollable shaking, another somewhat feverish night’s sleep, I wake up feeling almost normal on this fifthContinue reading “Who’s Counting? Five”

#342: May 8, Soul Work

It’s May 8. I sleep in an extra hour. I make myself a kick-ass scrambler. I pick my brother up at 9 and we drive toward I-84. There’s a bunch of teachers on an overpass wearing red and hanging their banners and I honk at them. My brother and I make our way to theContinue reading “#342: May 8, Soul Work”

Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year, Redux: When is a Frog Just a Frog?

So the school year, thus far, is cooking right along. I like my 9th graders. And that’s no little thing to say. For the most part, they are positive, respectful, willing, and mostly ready for prime time. There are some exceptions, of course, as always, and, of the three groups of 9th graders in myContinue reading “Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year, Redux: When is a Frog Just a Frog?”

Educational Fantasy #3: Two Teachers in Every Classroom

In 1984 and 1992, respectively, Ted Sizer, in his seminal works Horace’s Compromise and Horace’s School, argued that there was such a thing in a teacher’s class load as an optimal number of students for educational gains and teacher effectiveness. That number was 75. That’s right. 75 students per teacher. In those days, early in my career, English teachersContinue reading “Educational Fantasy #3: Two Teachers in Every Classroom”

#180: Another “Workable” Solution

It turns out that the brave colleague who volunteered to teach five preparations in order to relieve another colleague of a student load of 217 did not, after all, have to take on five preparations. Instead, two of her small classes were swapped straight across with two of the other teacher’s giant classes. These movesContinue reading “#180: Another “Workable” Solution”

#179: A “Workable” Solution

Today the English Department got together to figure out how to relieve a colleague of a student load of 217. That’s all I really have to say. The fact alone is enough. One of our colleagues was assigned 217 students. The obvious solution, hiring another teacher, is apparently out of the question. A school is given soContinue reading “#179: A “Workable” Solution”

School House Rock ‘n’ Sock

Almost two months ago now, in the throes and excitement and the optimism of a new school year, I found myself writing with my students and posting the results as blog entries here on the Michael Jarmer blog page. I was a happy camper then. Those were truly salad days in September. Fast forward toContinue reading “School House Rock ‘n’ Sock”

The Going-Back-To-Work Blues Is A Real Thing

20 blog entries later, and the summer break comes to a close. Teachers report back to their schools in my district on Monday. Time to take stock. Time to look ahead. It’s been a strong summer. I blogged, I wrote fiction, became an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church, agreed to marry a coupleContinue reading “The Going-Back-To-Work Blues Is A Real Thing”

Of English Teacher Math: Teaching 200 Students How To Write

Here are some numbers to consider for the end of the semester.  I asked 140 IB English students to turn in their logs, into which they have composed over the last 4 weeks anywhere between 20 and 30 pages of response to the readings we’ve done out of The Best American Essays of the Century. Let’s justContinue reading “Of English Teacher Math: Teaching 200 Students How To Write”