Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 14 2009


So I didn’t rock today. And I didn’t die inside.

While I am really frustrated at myself for not being able to convey everything I intellectually know, I understand that my lack of improvement is my fault and my fault alone. It puts a lot of pressure on me, but it also makes me think honestly about what I can do to be better. A huge part of the problem, admittedly, is poor planning the night before. I literally revise lesson plans a day in advance, without any time to rehearse and/or internalize. I draw chart paper signs the day of the lesson, at school, a half hour before I go in to teach. I don’t anticipate the difficult questions, and I don’t think of pre-made ways to differentiate instruction in case any of my kids don’t get it. So this is all stuff I do not do, which is ultimately leading to my kids not learning, which is ultimately leading to my kids possibly failing summer school.

Losing a year of their life. Because I am too lazy to use my time productively enough.

God, that’s sobering. My CMA and SD said some really important, albeit wince-worthy, words today. About taking responsibility for our actions, about owning a sense of urgency, about teaching these kids not necessarily to love reading (oh, how grandiose I am) but about teaching them their objectives so they can move on to 7th grade and CONTINUE reading. In school. Where they belong.

Those of you who know me know I am pretty articulate in written word. Semi-articulate in spoken word. I am neither, by any degree, in front of my kids. Today’s lesson helped me form a rapport with them in that we talked about slang (did you know “flamers” does not mean to these kids what it meant to us? I did not, and got panicky today in class…) but the text I picked initially was too hard–too full of conceptual slang that they just wouldn’t get without an idea of how to use context clues to decipher words. Harry Potter put them to sleep. HARRY POTTER. I was so panicked inside…if Harry Potter put them to sleep, what book WOULDN’T? I think on a surface, they understood making connections, but not WHY we made connections, which means they won’t make important connections later on…I’m a little worried for this week, to be honest. Mostly about my own ability and preparation to lead these kids to their own success…

I know this blog should be renamed Self-Doubtgoes2Philly, but I have to thank everyone who is reading it, even if you don’t comment. Knowing someone is out there reading my words and hearing me–because sometimes I feel like I can’t exactly burden people here with the stuff on my plate, they’ve got enough on their own–is so important to me. Invisible support means just as much to me as visible support :)

Funny moment of the day: When I handed out reading notebooks and K. and T. scoffed. At first I thought it was because they didn’t want reading notebooks, but then I realized it was because I gave T. a pink one and K. a blue one. They switched.

F. slept.

Wish me luck this week, people…I–and my kids–are going to need it!

One Response

  1. Rob Chamberlain


    That feeling like your sitting on a crazy coaster, its a good sign and means you’re getting it right. Dont stop doing what you’re doing. These kids right now are the hardest you’ll have.

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a Teach For America teacher’s blog

Greater Philadelphia

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