Thursday, January 1, 2009

Students Coming and Going

I learned several things the hard way my first year of was how to start with students you have, students you are going to have, and students who are leaving.

Let start with students you have.....

- Last year I expected that each student would bring in the required notebooks as requested on the supply sheet. I was unprepared for the number of students who did not bring in the supplies. I frantically went out and bought about 20 notebooks so that we could start notebooking right away (students were required to pay me back the $1 I spent on the notebooks....but I rarely got the money).

- This year I joined my school after the supply list was made (with no composition books on it). So I pre-purchased about 40 notebooks when they went on sale (about July/August) for .50 each. During the open house and on the first day of school I told parents that students would need one notebook for my science class. I gave them until the end of the week to bring them in. Meanwhile I passed out the notebooks I had purchased and as students brought in their notebooks I kept them as replacements for the ones I bought. That allowed me to start notebooking right away and covered those students whose parents don't purchase supplies.

Students you are going to have...

- Last year I was not prepared for new students. They didn't have a notebook because they were new. Many students had to wait until their parents got paid in order to get supplies. They worked on loose leaf paper unless I had an extra book for them to use (they were always expected to either pay for the book or replace it). It was a bit nightmarish.

- This year over the summer I took five notebooks and pre-numbered all of them while watching TV at night. Those were kept with my new student information so as I got new students they were ready to start notebooking with us day one. I am glad I did that because low and behold I have had five new students already this year. Again, student were expected to either pay or replace the book I gave them (sometimes that happened and sometimes that didn't).

Students who are leaving you....

- Last year I had several students leave the school. I kept their notebook. Lucky for me I didn't not misplace them because we had two come back! I was able to hand them their old book and they didn't miss a beat. I believe the other teacher let the student take their notebook and he lost it by the time he was re-enrolled. He had to start a new book.

- I wasn't sure how I was going to handle that this year. I've had several students leave but it was within the first two months of school so I kept their book. At this point I might let the leaving students keep their book, since we have done so much in them. I would probably weigh a lot of factors like how long they have been working in them, did they take pride in notebooking, how much departure notice we received, what is the probablity of their return, etc.

My advice is to think of the three scenarios above and decide how you would handle it so you have a plan when/if it comes up.

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