Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Only 5 more days!

1/6/2011
Kristen says...

You know it's been a long time since you blogged when your little brother is "scolding" you for neglecting your blog...but seriously, I can't believe how busy I am!!! I have had little to no time to blog in the past few weeks...this end of the school year thing is killing me!

Last year (my only year of teaching, mind you), the only thing I had to do to turn in grades at the end of the year was hit a "send" button...then they were whisked away and the counselors did whatever else was needed to process them/make sure the government got them/whatever they did with grades.

Here in Honduras...totally different!!!

In Honduras there are multiple steps to submitting year-end grades:

1) Finish calculating grades (this had to be done last week for 6th grade and seniors due to Friday's graduation, and had to wait until this week for 7th and 8th grade due to finals and end-of-the-year quizzes).
2) Notify any 6th or 12th grade student who fails your class, then give them a study guide and create and administer recoup tests (I had one). Wait until you have checked this recoup test to proceed to number 3. (Unless they failed...then you can just proceed because they get to take a second recoup test in the summer when you are far away and on vacation...)
3) Post grades to the in-school network gradebook (aka a really fancy spreadsheet that calculates all your grades for you! Yay!), one student at a time. This takes FOREVER.
4) (7-12th grade only) Complete the Honduran Cuadro, or official grade sheet, which is another fancy spreadsheet. For each class, (por ejemplo, 7th grade A) on the Cuadro you must:
  1. Fill in the official birth name of all students, girls first, in alphabetical order by first name
  2. Input number of absences by quarter
  3. Input quarter grade for just your class, divided by two so that the spreadsheet can re-calculate the final grade...(Why? you ask? Great question. Let me know if you find out.)
4.1) (6th grade only) Complete a different Honduran Cuadro manually, by hand, inputting not only the grade for your own class, but the grades of all the other classes they have taken this year...this means getting grades from approximately 8 other people...and hopefully they give you the right grades, because otherwise you have to REDO THE ENTIRE THING!!! (This actually happened to me. I was not pleased).
5) (6th grade only) Complete the Honduran Cuadro computer program, inputting the EXACT SAME INFORMATION you just wrote out on the hand-written Cuadro into a computer program that looks like it was written in the 1950s...
6) Write narratives
  1. Group Narratives: A description of what the student should have learned during the last quarter, listing any or all projects, quizzes, and areas of study. This will be copied and pasted into each individual students' narrative document (aprox 5-6 pages/student)
  2. Individual Narratives: 3-5 sentences tailored to each individual student explaining •how well they did in your class •how badly they did in your class •How much you like them, or •What they need to do not to fail your (or someone elses' class next year)
7) Give your narratives (all 3-7 pages of them) to a native-English speaker to check (I have checked 4 sets of narratives in the past week, in addition to my own).
8) Make any changes they suggest (and you agree with), then copy and paste each individual and group comment into the students' narratives document
9) Sit back and breathe until they tell you that you did it wrong and have to do everything again (ok that was my bad dream last night, but still...they get checked next week, and I can't leave the country until I get them perfect...)

And that's just submitting the grades! I have a checklist of 16 official things (ranging from turning in keys to lists of lost or damaged books to a major room and textbook inventory) that I have to do before next Thursday...and if I don't do them all (or any of my colleagues don't) then all our salaries are withheld until everyone does it. I do not want to be the reason anyone's salary is withheld, believe me! My own personal "to-do" list has leached over to page 2.

Not that I'm complaining, really... (ok, I have been doing a bit of that, I admit, but seriously. Lots of work)

I have actually had a bit of me-time lately...this past weekend (Memorial Day weekend) was a 3-dayer for us at Discovery, and I promised myself I wasn't going to do anything school related until Monday...and I didn't.

I read 1.5 books, did some tatting, and visited a cigar factory...but you will have to check out my next posts (coming VERY soon, I promise) to learn about the tatting and the visit...

Now I have to go write 2 more recoup tests...woot!
KF

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