Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 30 2013


This morning I got a surprise call from the office telling me my IEP was about to start and they had someone coming to cover my class. The IEP was for my most impaired kiddo, the one who reads at a kindergarten level and can just about add and subtract. Unfortunately, no one told me his IEP was today. Surprise! So instead of having work and kiddos prepared for my absence, I’ve got nothing, and my impaired kiddo’s assistant is going to be covering my class for the duration of the IEP. Thank goodness, the kiddo in question was absent today, so we had that option. I bustle off to the IEP, somewhat stressed but hoping Mr. Assistant can keep them busy with centers for a while.

It. Took. 3 and a half. Hours.

It took all of my prep time, all of our math time, all of my lunch time, all of our centers time. I wolfed down a 5 minute lunch and hurried back to the room, expecting a shambles. I left my kids for 3.5 hours of completely unplanned time with only vague instructions to do “free choice centers.” It’s probably a train wreck, right?


To my astonishment and absolute joy, my fabulous and wonderful assistant has made centers groups! They have done real math centers and are now in reading centers! He even is working on phonics with my lowest kids, just as is supposed to happen during centers! He even (I hear from the kids later) made up a super fun math fact practice game for when they’d been doing centers for literally ever and just couldn’t center anymore. It involved throwing crumpled paper balls in a trash can, reminiscent of the ever-popular Vocabball we play every Thursday. We shall call him Mr. Awesome.

It was amazing. I was super stressed, having spent an enormous amount of time in a 10 x 12 room discussing my cognitively and behaviorally impaired kiddo with 10 other individuals, some of whom don’t like him and treat him like he’s this malicious kid who scratches, rather than a kid with a terrible home life, limited reasoning skills, and very little words to explain himself, reacting in the only way he knows how. I was kind of at my limit. And here’s Mr. Awesome, making the world work flawlessly, way above and beyond the call of duty.

Luckily, I had made 2 cakes for the class today, in honor of every single student passing their 2s times tables (even my second-most-challenged student! Who also mastered the Area Model of multiplication today!). So as soon as I got back, we had cake. It seemed necessary. I, for one, definitely needed cake.

On the minus side, there was only 100 minutes left in the day by then, 15 of which was spent eating cake, 15 of which was spent at recess, and 15 of which was spent on a surprise fire drill in the middle of Social Studies. Actual instructional time today? Maybe 90 minutes. If we’re being generous.

But it could have been so much worse.


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

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