Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I am currently teaching an overage.  Five classes is considered full-time.  I am teaching five and a half (a writing elective that meets every other day) in exchange for an additional planning period every other day instead of every day study hall.  As an English teacher, it isn't worth it most days.

"Worth" it is a funny thing to think about it.  It's not worth anything monetarily.  The time difference is nominal.  Study hall is really the luck of the draw.  You might get 10 awesome kids who will let you use your study hall as an extra planning period anyway.  You might get 25 rowdy seventh graders who need to be taught study skills as they work.

At the beginning of the year, I didn't think I could do it.  I was burning out.  I couldn't read everything.  I had no idea how I was going to get anything published.

And then I realized I didn't have to do everything.  The kids LOVE my response on their work, so I try to give them that as much as I can.  But they can respond to each other.  They can be responsible for publishing.  Which is what I told them.  If you want to publish anything, you are in charge.  I will answer your questions.  I will help you.  But you have to design the layout.  You have to edit each other's work.  It is YOUR publication.

It is February 8th, and we haven't published anything this year.  To be honest, I've lost sleep over it.  I feel like it reflects poorly on me as the instructor.  I wonder if some of the kids are disappointed that we aren't publishing more.

But... today I sent it to the printer's.  I helped with compiling the final pages, putting it all together, filling out the order.  They did the rest.

And as I looked at it and prepared to send it away, I thought, This is worth it. I can see their faces as the look at the crisp color cover and open it.  I imagine their parents, finally open to a glimpse of their teenagers' worlds.  I am so proud of them.

It is worth the pride they will feel when they see it.  And next year, maybe I'll be able to do it in a way that I won't lose sleep.

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