Teaching High School English: Year 2

In two more weeks, I’ll be preparing to get my second year of 9th grade English students. Last year, I had a mixture of 9 Honors and 11 Academic (a.k.a average/standard). This year, I have my 9H group, but they threw me for a loop by trading my 11 for 9 Collaborative. I’m looking forward to having a co-teacher, but did I mention I am terrified of working with students with special needs? If I’m being honest, I’m pretty clueless. I was identified gifted in 2nd grade, and I was essentially isolated with a group of about 10 kids in my city from 2nd through 8th grade. Then, in high school, I took Honors/AP everything. I’ve never even shared a class with a student with any issue aside from a behavioral disorder. I’m worried I won’t be able to communicate effectively or meet all of their various needs. I know my co-teacher for those classes (who I like, thank goodness) will be a huge help, but I’m still so nervous. Not to mention, over the summer, I feel like I forgot how to even get ready for work, much more TEACH teenagers stuff. I’m freaking out a little. I’m going to guess that once I get back in my room and get going, I’ll chill out, but right now, I’m way more terrified for Year 2 than I was Year 1. I also have to revamp my discipline system. I haven’t had to deal with many behavior issues aside from some cheating and an occasional cuss word. I’m very much against calling kids out or going in the hall during class. I like to keep teaching and keep them from being embarrassed. I need a red-yellow-green light type system, but in a way that it fits high school. It’s harder than it seems. Even the teacher community on Pinterest gave me nothing. The only other tough thing is going to be differentiation between my Honors and Collab. We’ll be doing most of the same material, but the instructional delivery, practice, and assessment will have to be totally different. I’m just going to keep breathing and telling myself it will all come together.

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