Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hey Teach

Are you not allowed to post photos on Blogger? I can't seem to figure out how since the "insert photo" button is gone from the new post page...

In other words: I am a teacher. Weird.

Summer school has started and I've begun teaching. My collaborative group and I (four people) share one classroom and each teach one block of either literature, phonics/spelling, or math. I taught phonics/spelling this past week and I would have to say my lessons were alright - not great but not bad either. I just have to work on using our management system a lot more, since I am too hesitant to discipline students.

I already love the kids though. Most of them are well-behaved and I have fun interacting with them. I have a few favorites as well. My first student I had contact with when administering his reading diagnostic was Jaymir. He asked me why the teacher (our SMT - summer teacher) kept yelling at him. I said that I would help him stay out of trouble in class and since then I've been looking out for him and giving him extra attention. He's pretty funny but he's in the lowest level for both math and reading - which places him in both of my small groups (we also have a Math/Lit hour where we teach small groups of three for extra math and lit practice based on their levels). Since I'm teaching the lowest level in both math and lit, he is in my small groups.

There is only one kid I'm not too fond of: Tobias. It's not that I have problems with him, it's just that he acts up a lot. He's very smart and seems to be on a grade level higher than most of the students in the class, but because of this he thinks he can get away with everything, and he's always pushing our buttons. Not sure how to deal with him still...but I'll figure it out in the next three weeks I'm sure.

Thursday and Friday I taught a read aloud while my collab partners continued to test the kids diagnostics for reading (DRA). Most of the kids got into it, but during the first day, some boys were laughing at Jaymir so he stormed out of the room - I let the SMT go after him. Afterwards we tried to have a mediation session in the hall which was my first fight I tried to mediate! And then I also introduced a quick-fire math game which the kids seemed to love. And it wasn't even in my lesson plans! (if only my CMA knew...)

This coming week I am teaching math, and I have some good lessons planned for it. I'm hoping the kids will pay attention enough to do well on their assessment worksheets I made.

It's just so weird being a TEACHER. I mean, here I am planning lessons and being called "Mr. Capone." And this afternoon I was making a multiplication times table chart for the wall, and I was cutting out little shapes to use for my lesson on the distributive property for Tuesday, and that's when it just hits you, that you are a teacher and you have students and their learning to be responsible for.

Yesterday afternoon I was officially placed at Mastery charter schools! I am teaching at Mann Elementary in West Philly and they told me I would be teaching social studies somewhere between grades 3-5. I am super excited for this placement! First, I can teach social students. Second, I have upper elementary. And third, I was really thinking to live in West Philly nearby UPenn, so that is also a plus!

Today I went out with Tushara and we went shopping, but in the process we were able to explore a little of Center City (around the City Hall/Chestnut St. area) and I finally found aspects of Philly that I loved. We found the shopping areas, I bought some clothes, we bought all these teacher supplies at the dollar store, and then we went to the Terminal Market which was just like Faneuil Hall in Boston - with all these little food stalls! It was really awesome inside and I can't wait to check that out more in the future.

Even though I am happy with my students and with teaching, I'm still a little down. I feel like I'm not making many longterm friends, and I still have no one even in mind that I could live with. And to top it off, I'm having a lot of problems with Teach for America in general - basically elements of the program, the Institute, and some of the things they stand for. And then add to that missing Boston, home, and all my friends, and knowing I won't be able to stay there longterm for at least two years, and all I want to do is quit. It's pretty tough I guess, but this is growing up, right?

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