Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 13 2008


I’m not a very good blogger, I admit. Two weeks of institute have passes along with four days of teaching my hyper, talkative, yet precious 2nd graders. And now, I don’t even know where to begin.

I can’t even count how many times I had heard that institute is “intense.” But only now do I understand the true “intensity” of 3-4 hours of sleep per night coupled with the responsibilities of a classroom & learning how to be an effective teacher in 5 weeks. Intense is an understatement. That said, I just got back from a refreshing weekend back at my apartment in the City. It’s amazing what some good friends and a walk in Central Park can do for your spirit and energy.

I’m eager to go back into the classroom tomorrow, attempting my hardest to practice new classroom management techniques so that I can actually teach the lessons I worked oh so many hours crafting. I’m specifically excited to try a different individualized management plan with C., the special ed student who doesn’t spend more than 2 seconds in her seat and who flips other kids off at least 5 times a day. Obviously, our normal classroom consequences, such as loosing your classroom job (most kids eat this up…especially R. who wants nothing more in life than to actually keep his job as the coveted Pencil Sharpener Manager so he can sharpen ALL the pencils at the end of the day), isn’t working for C. We’re going to try nothing but positive reinforcements with her…she’ll get verbal praise and a sticker for every time she is caught following the rules like a “Superstar”, and if she has 5 stickers at the end of the day, she’ll get to be our special helper. She loves to help. So much so that she gets up and “helps” by erasing the whiteboard while you’re up there writing.

Overall, I’m not very good at this teaching thing, but I’m excited because this just leaves room for nothing but improvement. I’m working hard to embrace this fact and enthusiastically take every single bit of advice and constructive criticism there is. Humility has taken on a brand new meaning to me, and although it sucks at times, it’s a wonderful lesson to be learning.

Even after only having my kids for four days, I already feel so invested in teaching them. How can we improve the reading capabilities of the 6 kids who are reading at a kindergarten level? How can we teach math in a way that will help C & M (the two students who got 99% of their pre-test incorrect) improve? It’s a slightly overwhelming responsibility to think that I, along with my 3 other collab members, are not only here to learn how to be teachers, but we’re here to help set these kids up for success in 3rd grade. Overwhelming, yet incredibly exciting and empowering.

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