Today I "taught" first hour from 7:30 to 8:40 and I teach again fifth hour...from 1:30 to 2:30. Best. Day. Ever. From Tuesday to Friday of this week over half of the 8th grade is in Cartagena, Colombia competing against other schools in soccer, volleyball, baseball, etc. While I do not necessarily agree that students should miss almost an entire week of school for a sports tournament, I sure am loving the slower pace of school with only 50 students here! With so many students gone we combined some of the classes together and therefore, I only have three classes to fit into an eight period rotation. Life is good. I assigned a two week long project to everyone during this time, so the students who stayed behind just have class time to work on the project. This morning they worked independently while I did some stuff around my classroom, answered questions and we listened to music. Perfect.
Not so perfect about this week? Well, let me just tell you a little story. Before the students left for Binationals I gave a short quiz on our current topic of area and perimeter. I usually like to give some type of assessment before students leave for a weekend or break because they tend to do better. On this particular quiz, students overall did well...however...some not so well. In fact, I caught two cheaters. One in class and one while grading. The one in class wasn't too exciting, he was just blatantly turned in his seat asking another student about his answers. I called him up to my desk and ripped his quiz in fourths. What can I say, I don't like cheaters.
The other cheating student has a bit more of an interesting story. I sit down to grade his quiz. As I am marking his answers and trying to follow his work, I notice that his work is somewhat non-sensical and doesn't really flow from one step to the next...it's almost like he wrote down stuff to make it look like he did work. Yet, he somehow arrived at ALL OF THE RIGHT ANSWERS. Very perplexing. What makes this story more interesting is Mr. Genius had all the right answers....to the WRONG version of the quiz. Four out of six right answers for Quiz A, when he took Quiz B. Really??? What is this??? Stop cheating! (or at least get better at it for goodness sakes!) I don't really view myself as a malicious teacher out to get students, so the whole experience has me feeling a bit like Viola Swamp (mean substitute teacher from the children's book Miss Nelson is Missing) this week. However, cheating is a serious issue, and I view it as blatant disrespect for me and my classroom. Needless to say I had some very serious conversations with these students hopefully terrified them into not doing it again.
In other random news/updates, this week is our all school Spirit Week. Similar to the Spirit Week in the fall, each day has a different theme and basically just gives teachers an excuse to wear jeans all week long. Monday was Pajama Day, Tuesday was Twin Day (picture of Steph & I to follow!) and today is Colombia Day. While the US is swarmed with green today, I am here in Colombia sporting any red, blue or yellow we can find.
To those back home, cheers and drink a green beer for me!