I did something in class today that paid a lot of dividends. It would be nice if I could do it more often, but today the stars were in alignment or something and it just worked out.
Our school has the funkiest schedule on the planet. On Mondays and Fridays, we have "regular days". On Tuesdays and Wednesdays we have "block days", having periods 1, 3, and 5 on Tuesday for 2 hrs each and periods 2, 4, and 6 on Wednesdays. On Thursdays we do something so ignorant that I won't spend time on it here. Suffice it to say that yesterday and today I had 2 hour classes.
In my pre-calc (trig) classes, we went over the one assignment that students have been working on for the last two days. Pretty difficult stuff, and I wanted to ensure the students had time to attempt it on the first day, ask questions, finish it on the second day, and ask final clarifying questions today. After that we had a scheduled quiz. All of that took up the first hour of the block period.
For the 2nd hour of the block period I had a lesson planned. It's a fairly simple lesson, one that I was able to cover in about 15 minutes. Rather than do a 2nd lesson for the remaining 40 minutes, though, I opted to let the students work on tonight's assignment in class while I graded their quizzes. Here's the "good teacher" thing: I had each student come up to my desk while I graded his or her quiz so they could got immediate feedback on how well they did as well as immediate remediation.
Most students scored fairly well on the quiz. Those who didn't, however, were thankful for the chance to learn, one-on-one, what they hadn't figured out over the last couple days. This is especially helpful, though, because they have a chapter test a week from today.
Of course, it should be patently obvious to anyone that scoring quizzes right away is a smart thing to do. Often I take up to 2 days, however, by which time we've already moved on to new material. Grading in class isn't always possible, either; it's not often I get a lesson that can adequately be taught in only 15 minutes. So what I did today isn't always possible, but it sure felt good to do it.
I feel like I accomplished something today. We'll see if it that's true on the test next week!