It looks like my timetable for next year will look like this:
Semester 1: this will be an all-science semester for me.
- one section of grade 12 college chemistry
- some combination of the grade 9 and 10 academic and applied science courses I taught this semester, teaching the bio and chem units in those courses (remember, my school makes the students switch to a physics teacher when they get to the physics and weather/astronomy units of those courses).
Some pros of this timetable:
- getting to focus on only math or only science in each semester, rather than the split focus I have this semester
- this means in each semester I will likely have a classroom to call my own (a science lab of my own in sem. 1 and a math classroom of my own in sem. 2), though I suppose that will partly depend on the timetables of more senior math teachers. The current science curriculum leader has already told me what lab I will have in semester 1--the lab she is currently using. While I don't really mind sharing classrooms with other teachers like I've had to do this semester (and it has actually helped me build a closer relationship with the teacher's I've shared rooms with), it sure does free you up to make the room your own when you are the only person in there all day.
- it is not all new courses...I will have taught at least the junior science courses before (although I will still have to put energy into seriously improving what I did, plus the bio unit for the grade 10 courses will be different from the bio unit they had this year), and if I get grade 9 applied math again I'll have already taught that also
- getting the grade 12 chem means that I will be able to pursue my Honour Specialist in chemistry once I've taught for 1 more semester. Getting an Honour Specialist qualification is one way for teachers to move up to the highest pay category for a regular teacher (i.e., not a curriculum leader or principal or any such thing). You have to have taught for 2 years, including 1 year in Ontario in the subject for which the specialization is being sought, in order to pursue your Honour Specialist. You also have to have completed at least 9 full university courses in the subject. Since I did a major in chem but only a minor in physics (and I only have 2.5 full university courses in math), chemistry is the only subject I can pursue specialization in without doing further university studies in the subject.
I also found out this year that it's official: OISE (the teacher's college at U of T) has accepted me into their Senior Math Additional Qualification course for July. As a graduate of York's teacher's college, it will be interesting to me to see if any difference in philosophy comes across in this course versus what I would expect at York. They certainly had different philosophies when it came to who they admitted to their preservice programs (*not bitter*...actually, even had OISE accepted my preservice application, I more than likely would have picked York anyway). Anyway, taking this course will hopefully make me a better math teacher than I was this year, although I think that being able to rely heavily on the notes of some more experienced teachers made me not all that bad a math teacher this time around anyway. I mean, c'mon, I did university-level physics, I'd better have a reasonable handle on math...though I know knowing it and being able to communicate it are two very different things, which is partly why I'm taking this course. I've also never had experience with some of the new teaching tools and technology that is out there for math teachers, such as geoboards and Geometer's Sketchpad, and I only had a very brief exposure to algebra tiles before I started trying to use them this year, so I'd like a little better explanation of how to use them effectively and a little more practice.
Now that today is done, I only have 10 more classes with my math class (and if I don't get asked to supervise the spec. ed. kids during the two-day EQAO math test, that will really work out to only 8 days with most of my math students) and 9 with my science classes, all not including exams. Summer is so close, I can taste it...hopefully I will survive the lack of sleep until then :).