Saturday, June 21, 2014

"So Hats off to the Bull, No Giving Up"

It has been a while since I have posted.  I just needed some time off to finish the year off strong.  While I would say this was the best year that I had since I have been teaching in the middle school, there certainly were some challenges, and there are definitely challenges that lie ahead.  In the fall, I will be teaching in the high school building again in the junior high section.  I will still have my 7th and 8th graders, but I will no longer have the 6th graders.  :(

The positive that I am taking from this is that I will be able to really focus on improving curriculum and interactions for those too grades.  I will have fewer students so I am hoping to really work on efficient and effective feedback for my students.  If I have the opportunity to pick up another class or grade, then I will hopefully have a solid method to be more timely with feedback.

That being said, there are some things that sadden me.  Because we no longer have 6th grade, that creates an opening in the schedule.  At the conclusion of the year, we were really excited with the prospect of having three sections of each grade.  Our students would really benefit from smaller class sizes. Unfortunately, we recently learned that we will be going back to two sections.  This means that there are three open periods, not including a prep period.  We will be having two MTSS periods and guided study hall with our students everyday.  So effectively, I will only be a half-time science teacher.  That makes me sad.  I am going to do as much research as I can over the summer for MTSS, however I am slightly concerned as most resources focus only on math or reading.  I am also concerned because from the little training I have had in MTSS, it is my understanding that it is in best practice to only have maybe up to five students working with you on particular skills.  However, if the students are split up between the four available teachers, we are looking at 11-12 students per classroom.  What are the students that aren't going to need intervention be doing, and where do they go?   An additional concern is the guided study hall.  With intervention time everyday I really don't anticipate students have enough meaningful work to take them through the study hall period.   My last major concern is that I will be bouncing between two building to use the lab, with even less time than before.  Plus, I am going between two grades.

That is enough ruminating for tonight.  I need a few more days to process and then I will hit the ground running.  I will make it a great year despite the challenges.  I will keep looking for the positive and not dwell on the things that I perceive as negatives.  I don't have any control over these; I can only try make the best out of it.

Do any of you have experience with MTSS or RTI with a science focus?  What suggestions do you have for traveling between two buildings to make the most efficient use of time?  I'd be delighted to hear your ideas!

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