“Hello Class. I’m Mr. O’Keefe.”

Apologies for the lack of updates in the past week, but I’ve been rather busy!

Here’s a (somewhat) quick rundown:

Last Monday was Back to School Night at Cristo Rey, a night where parents, guardians, students, faculty, and staff meet for a night of food, introductions, and news about the year. I was impressed by the strong turnout and how everyone seemed to know one another. It was a great family atmosphere and a great way to kick off the school year.

Wednesday was Orientation Day, a half day in which the students visited each of their classes for 25 minutes and took their school ID pictures. Since Writing Lab would not be meeting, I was on photo-duty for most of the day. It wasn’t horribly exciting, but I did get to see all of the students and talk with teachers and staff.

After school, my mom came down from Massachusetts to visit and drop off my car for me. She and I went to the Inner Harbor and I took her to Five Guys because she had never been (and I was craving a bacon cheeseburger due to my largely vegetarian diet). Later on, she joined my housemates and I at the house for dinner. She cooked us some deliciously cheesy vegetarian lasagna and meatballs (served separately of course). I’m really glad she took the trip to come see me. She got to meet my (awesome) housemates and we got to spend some nice time together. Plus, there’s just something special about seeing your mom in person when you’re away from home, even if it is only for a half day.

Thursday was the official first day of school. Because Sophomore Writing Lab doesn’t meet on Thursdays, my only obligations for the day were to cover for a fifth period Junior Writing Lab and my daily Lunch 2 proctoring assignment in the Computer Lab. I escaped both the class and Lunch 2 unscathed. I laid out my rules for respect and, for the most part, the students were very well behaved.

On Friday, during first period, I found out that I would be covering two Sophomore Nutrition/Health classes. Principal Malone suggested that I talk with the students about eating habits and the new cafeteria food in a discussion based class. I wrote up some questions and had the students write down answers for them. Next, I laid down the rules for discussion (respect others when they speak, raise your hand if you would like to speak, no side comments, etc.) and began taking responses from the students. It turns out that the students are very passionate about the cafeteria food and what they eat. There’s a Burger King across the street from Cristo Rey, and it was apparent that Burger King (and other fast food) was a big part of their diets. Luckily, Cristo Rey has made the “BK Lounge” off limits during school so that students begin to eat in a more healthy manner. It was an interesting discussion and I really enjoyed leading it. It made me remember how much I liked discussion based classes in high school and college.

And then… wait for it… THREE DAY WEEKEND!

On Saturday, my housemates and I hosted a Labor Day JV reunion. We had a fantastic turnout that included representatives from 12 of the 15 JVC East houses, FJV’s, JV Recruiters, Jesuits, and even some friends from Villanova. It was packed in our narrow row-house, but everyone seemed to have had an “Ignatian” good time!

On Sunday and Monday (thank you Labor Day Weekend), I simply relaxed a bit, watching some classic movies like Lean on Me and The Mighty Ducks with my housemates and cleaning up from Saturday.

Finally, today, Tuesday, after months of anticipation, I had my first real classes. I had four sections of Sophomore Writing Lab. It went pretty well for the most part. I went over what would happen in class, some ground rules for both me (Rule 0: RESPECT) and the Computer Lab, and logged them into Google Documents. Once the formalities were complete, I assigned a short, three paragraph writing assignment for the remainder of the class. In the first paragraph, I had them write a bit about themselves, their background, and their interests. In the second paragraph, I asked for their short and long-term goals. Lastly, the third paragraph called for examining their strengths and weaknesses when it came to writing. The assignment allowed me to not only get to know them a little more on a personal level, but also to see where they are in regards to writing progress. I’m really looking forward to reading what they had to say.

OK, so that rundown wasn’t quick at all. It was actually kind of long winded, BUT it gives you an idea of how busy it’s been. Since Thursday, I’ve come home every day exhausted and about ready for bed. This whole waking-up-at-6:15am thing is tough!

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4 Responses to “Hello Class. I’m Mr. O’Keefe.”

  1. “There’s just something special about seeing your mom in person when you’re away from home, even if it is only for a half day.”

    This I can relate to… although speaking of patience, two weeks straight was a complete test of my limits! That’s what I get for moving so far away.

    Sounds like things are off to a great start!

  2. Tom O'Keefe says:

    Haha, thanks, Lindsay!

    And I can definitely relate to your situation, too!

  3. Diana says:

    Everything sounds wonderful! You’ll be great with the students, Mr O, and I’m sure you’re going to have a fantastic year.

    Also, I wish your mom would visit ME. She’s so adorable (and that meal sounds delicious). 🙂

  4. Tom O'Keefe says:

    Thanks, Diana!

    They haven’t started calling me Mr. O yet, but it may be soon.

    And the meal WAS delicious. Moms are the best.

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