Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 07 2011

Leaving School at 9pm

… 9:15, actually, and loving it! Minus the backache, knee-ache, and foot-ache. Today was one of those days where technically you’re doing work, but you’re not doing anything that takes too much thought or has any roadblocks, so you stay fresh mentally. No Teaching Headache today. Love it.

I wish this had been a long afternoon of helping kids work through their phobia of mathematics. Instead, I filed all my IEPs and Dyslexia paperwork, tightened up my entrance procedure, made a bunch of copies, built a student file system, organized work to pass back by period, found a beautiful brand-new three-hole puncher, printed out grade sheets, and organized binders. In rainbow order.         (  … you know you have a problem when… )

Reasons today was a great day:
- I spent a lot of time giving advice to the third-year teacher who gave me advice last year.
- I drew out a weekly schedule for myself that I think will be revolutionary.
- FOUR people came in to observe during sixth period while I was using extra-terrestrials, clips from “Contact,” and This American Life to teach multiplying fractions (thank youuuuu, Mathalicious!). Two of them, including my principal, made a point to give me a thumbs up before leaving. This is a big deal.
- My Déjà vu student said, “Ugh. Miss, you doin’ too much. We are just… too … organized in this class.”
- I had an avocado for lunch.
- I got to steal Toothpik again for 10 minutes of 4th period, during which he completed the homework we worked on last week.
- I saw my students’ gears turning during second period when we did the “Thinking About Graphs” activity. It was like their skulls were see-through.
- I don’t have to feel guilty about not planning when I get home, because it’s already so late that I really should do it in the morning anyway!

THIS is what I thought TFA would be like! When I envisioned myself doing this, I saw myself teaching cool lessons with a whooole bunch of room to improve, and I saw myself staying in my classroom until super-late just because I can’t help but be addicted to attacking all of those good-but-could-be-betters. THIS is the type of energy I had in college! This is how it felt to wake up at 4:44 to row and go to bed at midnight after a color-coded, tightly-scheduled day. Failures were opportunities, stress was a to-do list, and fatigue just meant it was probably time to get some cardio in. This is how I DO!

Maybe I’m manic. I know it’s a cycle; I’ll go through my “gee, why have I been so tired lately?” phase soon enough. But today was a day just how I like them—tomorrow I get to do it all again, and that just means I get another chance to see if I can squeeze anything more into waking hours.

9 Responses

  1. stephanie

    That fraction lesson sounds fun! Glad this year is starting out so much better. Another cool math lesson site is braingenie.

  2. stephanie

    ps …. just realized that braingenie is still live with only math up through pre-algebra. I believe extended lessons will be available shortly.

  3. heyyyyyyyyy want to share the stuff you were using to teach multiplying fractions? :-)

  4. Wess


    First, go here and read about the Mathalicious deal:

    Then go here and sign up

    The lesson I used is ‘Somewhere out There.” make sure you watch all the clips first and decide which ones you want; I wouldn’t recommend watching all of them.

    Then, go here and scroll down to read two things: 1) Scott’s comment and 2) Cameron’s comment recommending the Rational Number project. It looks really good.

  5. mathlovergrowsup

    Oh (blank),
    is your name a secret? I almost used it. oops!
    I’m just excited you are sharing this stuff!
    The discussion at TFAnet around this lesson is getting even better because I disagreed with part of the rational the mathalicious man Karim gave for the lesson. However, I do like his site a lot in general even though there is some disagreements going on at TFANET!

  6. mathlovergrowsup

    oh, and make sure you sleep enough! This math ed situation our country is mired in is going to be a problem for the rest of our lives.We need you around for the long haul.

  7. Kurt (Community Manager)

    Congratulations! Your post has been featured on the Teach For Us homepage.

  8. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSs yes yes yes yessssssssssss. Super win, girlfriend. These last paragraphs, I understand them. Still definitely up and down, but down now just means planning in the morning and KNOWING WHAT TO PLAN AND HOW TO PLAN, Just knowing you need to do it. As opposed to last year, which I don’t even need to describe. My brain, I love this. I CAN’T WAIT FOR US TO MEET AND LET OUR BRAINS MOOSH TOGETHER.

  9. Lauri

    In Rainbow Order. Oh, Leslieanne. I love your guts.

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