Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Dog Days Are Over

Teaching through Teach for America or at my school in general brings about a bunch of people observing my classes. Sometimes, they sit in on one of my better classes, where the lesson is pretty decent, the kids are behaving, and I have things under control. But (more times than not) they observe me during a class that is a bit out of control. I mean, kids are not arguing, fighting, or going crazy, but they are slouching, talking when I am at points, disengaged, and calling out. When this happens, and I see someone in the back of my classroom watching everything unfold, things actually become worse and I shut down as a teacher. It's pretty difficult...

But then I have to reflect, and realize that I am in my first month of teaching. I have no teaching background and very limited teaching experience (that ESL bit in China), and I am (for the most part) holding my own. Sure, my lines in the hallways aren't the best, and my students are not always 100% engaged, and my lessons are not always planned and executed successfully, but I try my best and I think I owe it to myself to at least feel some pride in that. 

I think what intimidates me is that I am surrounded by excellence. My school does not settle for anything less than, and then here I come, with no experience, and procedures that are not tight. The school and admin expect from me what the school expects from all teachers. It's just that, how can I measure up to these metrics of 100% of students being on task, lessons that are aligned, and a sound management system when I just don't have that kind of experience that can bring these things to life. Sure, I try and achieve these metrics, but no matter how hard I try or how much time and effort I put into my teaching, I don't think I can get there with only four months under my belt. 

I feel as though I'm in this "disconnect" phase of work. I don't dread going to school each day, but I think I lost some of the excitement I had in the early fall. I think I can revive that after the holiday break when I can reflect on some things and try to incorporate new systems into my class (they say it's best to make chances after the break and bring a fresh start for the new year). So, there is a new hope after all!

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