Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 16 2011

Thank Goodness It’s Friday

This week has been long. So long. Part/most of the reason I feel so drained right now has to do with the fact that I ran out of allergy medicine (and they tripled the price of it) so I’ve been wandering around in a histaminic fog, exhausted and puffy-eyed, all week. Some of it is because we had those icky nasty tests this week and my kiddos were totally demoralized, which was hard to watch. Some of it is because I have two, sometimes three, boys who talk back and are rude and even though I know it comes from their frustration because they are behind, it’s still exhausting and aggravating. I’m sitting in my classroom right now, and my kids will be here in 40 minutes, and I know there are things I should be doing that are more important than this but I can’t make myself stand up.

But here are the good things that happened this week.

  • One of my kids who two weeks ago was really hesitant to admit she doesn’t understand, who would pretend she got everything and then quietly fail even when I asked her point blank how I could help, has begun asking questions about confusing pieces for in front of the whole class. This is AWESOME because it means not only does she understand better, the other kids do too, and I get to keep building her and others’ confidence by gushing over how much I love it when people ask questions. ROCK.
  • I covered up the digital clock in my room with a sign that says “Check the face clock!” and put up a face clock. Now my kids HAVE to tell time! Haha! And plus, every time someone asks me what time it is, I get to turn it into a mini math lesson on elapsed time. Time-telling for the win!
  • I got observed by my TFA manager, and even though she witnessed my obnoxious boys being, well, obnoxious, she also got to talk to my on-task kids, who were not only on-task, they also told her all about our big goals, and why they’re important so we can be ready for 5th grade and middle school. I know I shouldn’t need validation that at least some of my kids are really getting it, but it’s always nice to hear anyway.
  • My biggest behavior problem kid had his best day all year this week, where he was mostly on-task, mostly paying attention, and only talked back disrespectfully sometimes. This is an ENORMOUS improvement for him, and I got to send home happy notes to mom instead of our daily bad note followed by phone calls. Of course, the next day he was awful, but when he was awful, he was crying at the end of the day. Maybe this sounds like a bad thing, but the fact that he’s crying means he cares about how his behavior was today. Even if he only cares because mom will get mad, this is a HUGE step over where we were two weeks ago.
  • Not so relevant, but still: yesterday our Specials got cancelled (just for my class, for the second time, thanks for that, school) and even though part of me felt totally guilty for not using that 45 minutes for extra learning time, I listened to the part that said my kids needed a break and we wouldn’t usually get this time anyway, so we watched youtube videos and drew pictures, which they LOVED. And some of them started dancing and singing. And it was hilarious.

OK. I feel better having remembered all the good bits. I guess I can stand up and erase the board now.

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    In which I muse about New Mexico, teaching, and life in general.

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