Be The Change…

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 30 2011

It’s not the number of times you fall, but how you pick yourself up

I keep trying to remember to blog as often as possible. But, this week it just wasn’t possible. Week 3 has been the hardest by far. The honeymoon period is over, the achievement gap is real, sleep is minimal, but the halfway point has passed.

My week can be summed up with saying: teaching is hard. I don’t think I ever fully thought it would be quite this hard until I am doing it now. I knew my teachers always did a lot, and had a lot going on – but I never knew it was this much. As I tried to explain to someone yesterday, there are more things on my mind during a lesson than any other time in my life. Just a snap shot of what I am thinking while teaching:
1. are my students getting this information?
2. why is that student over there slouching? how can I get him/her to sit up straight?
3. everyone has their hand raised, who do I choose on strategically?
4. now others are upset I did not choose on them, how do I keep them engaged?
5. why aren’t they answering the question I just asked?
6. how am I doing for time?
7. how should I frame this question to solicit the answer to guide the students to proper analysis?
8. is teaching this hard for everyone?
9. that student has put his head down – is he sleeping or reading?
10. do my students know how much I really love teaching them….even when they frustrate me?
…….and that’s all within about 20 seconds. I teach for over 2 hour blocks – you get the picture.

And Tuesday my lesson bombed. I COMPLETELY misunderstood the level that my students were at and overshot the lesson completely. I used ideas and words that were not familiar to them without taking the time to define and teach them how to use them. Then when the lesson got out of hand, my students became bored and disengaged and therefore classroom management became a challenge and fell apart. By the end of the lesson I had only one student who was still following along, and it was my fault. Talk about defeat. I’ve lost soccer games, failed tests, and had many other difficult upsets in life and none of them even begin to compare. Because I let down my kids who has been let down so many other times before. I left my room and crashed into our teacher’s room and took about 10 minutes to analyze how my lesson went so wrong. Then I vented to some good friends. Then I debriefed with my advisor who made me realize that this happens to everyone at some point and to take the frustration and channel it into a more engaging and understandable lesson on Friday. And that I have done…..I hope.

Right now, my students are taking their mid-institute assessment to see how much they have grown so far in our class. I have seen them grow and watched them develop so much already in the past two weeks so it will be interesting to see how this assessment data turns out.

And thank everything for the three day holiday weekend coming up. I need that about as much as I need water to survive.

One Response

  1. Kurt (Community Manager)

    Congratulations! Your post has been featured on the Teach For Us homepage slider! Keep up the great work.

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About this Blog

A small town person with big world dreams

Mississippi Delta
High School
Foreign Language

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