Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 25 2009

Jumping Up And Down

Today was a good day.

I just – I have such love and joy and pride in my kids. I don’t know what I expected when I started – I expected the struggle, and the pain, and the exhaustion. I expected to feel helpless most of the time, feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing. I mean, especially with my experiences at Institute, where I was feeling all the time like I was doing battle when I went into the classroom… People kept telling me at Institute that my kids would be worse, but not to worry because I would love them eventually…

I don’t love them eventually. I love them right now. They’ve been in my classroom for almost two months and they are still fantastic. Better every day, actually. My AP tells me that my classroom is one of the best functioning in school. I hear yelling from class after class down my hall, angry yelling, and I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever yelled at my kids. I’ve spoken to them in a strong voice, but I’ve followed TFA’s advice and gotten intense when I needed to, not louder, and I have never, not once, told them to shut up. They don’t backtalk me, they don’t argue with me, they recite my rules to each other even outside the classroom…

And today. Today, they took their first unit test for Read180. I’ve graded 5 out of 18 papers so far, and only one was underneath that magic 80%. Even K, who comes across to me as one of those kids who is angry and frustrated whenever he sets foot in school because he is used to seeing nothing but failure, got an 80%. I cannot wait to see their reactions on Monday. I am just so happy with them, happy with where my classroom is, happy with the way my kids treat me and each other, happy with the enthusiasm they have for what we do every day. I’m happy that they seem to be telling other students how much they love my class, because I get kids trying to sneak into my class and saying, “BUT YOUR CLASS IS FUN!” when I kick them out. “We do work in my class!” I tell them, and they usually say something back like, “But you do FUN work!”

And yeah, we kind of do. We do have fun. We work, but we have fun. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that I love going to work every day.

When is that other shoe going to drop? The longer it takes, the more I dread it.

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    eliza in south louisiana

    South Louisiana
    Middle School

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