Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 03 2009

Holy Cow!

It’s December!

Time really flies by these days, so I thought I’d come here and update because it will be 2010 before we know it.

I just started coaching softball on Monday and I’m having a blast.  I always played sports growing up and now it’s really cool to be on the coaching end.  It’s also pretty cool to connect to my girls in a different way than just teaching them math in the classroom.  I suggest anyone who is willing to give up an hour or so after school to definitely start or join an extracirricular activity.  Especially us women in sports, our girls so badly need positive role models and sports is a great way to boost self-image and self-esteem.

Next week I am heading to NYC with the Miami-Dade regional team to observe some of the top classrooms in the nation who are dealing with the same type of students as we are.  Miami-Dade is really upping their game and we want to make sure our students are getting a top notch education.  I’m really looking forward to the trip and the impact it will have on my students and other students in the region.  I’ll also be sure to post what I see on here for those of you looking for some ideas.

Finally, I’ve pretty much stopped feeling like a failure which is amazing.  In all but that 6th period class, my students are quiet and listening during my lectures, asking questions, and working on classwork the rest of the time.  Exit tickets are looking good and I am really feeling like a teacher these days.  “Fake it until you make it” could not have rang more true for me.

Plus, my kids are really starting to trust me and feel like I care about them.  They are more comfortable talking to me and they ask a lot more questions because they realize that questions are good and help the learning process.  My essential question yesterday was “What is most difficult for you with parallel and perpendicular lines” and many of them freely told me what they were struggling with in front of the entire class. That makes me feel like I’ve done a good job of creating a safe environment.

They also talk to me about things not school related.  Yesterday, one of my worst behavior problems in my 6th period class came up and talked to me for a while about fighting and racism.  He is an African American boy but very light skinned.  Until yesterday I didn’t realize that having light skin means people think you are “soft” (weak) and will “try” (bully you) more.  We had a long discussion about how that is racist and we know that in one’s mind there is no such thing as color.  I told him that he was already smarter for knowing that people aren’t hard or soft depending upon their skin color and I told him to keep up being a role model and using his brain and staying out of fights and ignoring people when they try him.  He agreed with me and then told me an anecdote about his sister who apparently fights everybody and has a ton of enemies.  She even had to switch schools because everyone at her old school wanted to fight her.  All of this really saddened me because of how much violence there is in these communities, but also inspired me because he was so receptive and open and you rarely see that from these kids when it comes to fighting.

Hopefully more of this happens and I can’t wait for 2010.

If I don’t write again, happy holidays :)

No Responses Yet

    Post a comment

    About this Blog

    a Teach For America teacher’s blog

    Middle School

    Subscribe to this blog (feed)