Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 23 2011

Day 1B

My juniors this morning were a lot harder to sell than any of my students yesterday. It was first (second) period, and I was a bit distracted. Thank heavens I’d had all of yesterday to back me up, which meant I was able to hold them to the level of yesterday’s classes even when half the class still decided they were too cool. If today had been the first day, I think I would have crashed and burned!

* the plus-or-minus-three rule is a tricky one, but really useful (this is the rule that says you shouldn’t ever be winning or losing by more than three tallies on the scoreboard). At one point I heard a kid say “you guys, we’re not really all that far behind! Come on!

* I don’t know why it was so hard for me to assign homework last year. Maybe it’s so easy right now because I know they’re doing non-math-related homework they feel confident about… but it just does not feel like the battle it was last year.

In other news, I finally have a legit no-English student. Literally none. I think last year I had a total of four LEP students, so this is a big deal. I just felt so horrible for her– I cannot imagine the stress of your first day of school, in a building you don’t know, when you don’t know what the words on your schedule mean or how to talk to any of your teachers.

I felt worse when I just. Kept. Talking to her in English. Why do I, as soon as she says “no ingles,” start trying to give her really clear and slow directions in the language she  JUST told me she didn’t understand? I’m trying to say reassuring things, about how she should just hang tight while I find someone who can help us, but of course I’m just making it worse. She looks like she’s about to cry. Finally a student from last year saves the day. Turns out she was just trying to figure out whether she was at the right room. Sigh.

A BUNCH of teachers from my school are going to come to my workshop on Saturday! I’m so GLAD this is actually happening!

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    “The minute you think of giving up, think of the reason you held on so long.” - John Maxwell


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