Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 28 2009

Institute – Week 1 Of Teaching

This week I:

1. Spent 30 minutes in one day getting my students to line up to come in from recess. Found myself saying, “That’s not a line, that’s a swarm.” Contemplated just telling them it was ok and to come in. Resisted.

2. Flubbed my math twice in front of students.

3. Flubbed my math more times than I can count in private.

4. Heard a mass groan when I walked into the classroom for math block.

5. Watched the same kids who groaned clap automatically when I said, “If you can hear my voice, clap once” and fill out their guided note sheet as I walked them through reducing fractions on the board.

6. Did not see Significant Gains in students’ math skills.

7. Saw improvement in at least two people in every lesson I taught, including the first one. Saw those numbers increase by the day.

8. Picked favorites.

9. Picked favorites who would surprise the kids if they were informed they were favorites.

10. Held a discussion about college with a group of students who, except for two, had never had a discussion with anyone about going to college. “What if you can’t pay for it?” one student asked. “There’s this thing called a scholarship,” I began.

11. Got told by four people that my discipline in the classroom was fantastic. Got told by one of the TFA people in charge of the school that she didn’t have class discipline like mine until her second year. Got a long note from one of the TFA people who’s teaching us about how to actually plan and execute a curriculum that the thing I need to work on the most is how fast I talk.

12. Heard C, age 12, who tested on a first grade reading level and got 7/41 right on the math diagnostic, say to her friend as she figured out how to reduce fractions, “Yeah, I’m smart!”

13. Missed Mom. A lot.

14. Was frustrated by my collab group. Was frustrated by TFA’s scheduling. Was frustrated by time moving too quickly. Was frustrated by time moving too slowly. Was frustrated by my own inability to plan ahead. Was frustrated.

15. Talked about drinking copiously. Scheduled time to drink copiously. Drank copiously. Overused the word copiously.

16. Did not break down.

17. Found myself convinced, more than ever, that this is (at least for the moment) what I really, really need to be doing.

One Response

  1. Dottie

    I love you! Was hoping you would post something as I was wanting to know how things were going but didn’t want to bother you knowing you are busy. Sounds like you really, really in the right place right now.

    Working on keeping the business going – not an easy chore right now but it will all work out.

    Love and Hugs

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eliza in south louisiana

South Louisiana
Middle School

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