I lost it.
Yearbooks were handed out today, which as you all know, is exciting in the lives of middle schoolers. During my 5th period, which is my precious 8th graders, I was asked to sign them all (and I really mean them ALL). While signing them, all I could think about was how much they have grown from last year to this year with me… which led to me eventually breaking down in tears IN CLASS. They all stared at me and were whispering to each other “is she really crying???” Then, to break the ice, one of my handsome little smarty-pants says “Wow, we finally see she has a heart…” to which I even laughed. Those students are my babies, and I love them dearly. Thank goodness the high school is still part of the school as a whole. If they were leaving, I think I would be WAY more dramatic.
1.5 days left.
a big, beautiful grain of salt
Standardized test scores are what they are: an incomplete to misleading snapshot. I believe that. And yet, when good ones come back, my inner Lisa Simpson still feels validated. Pleased. Nearly proud.
I think, if anything, that’s evidence of a problem. But at the moment I really don’t care.
Question: Where are you getting your classroom posters?
Specifically to the art teachers: where are you finding posters with contemporary art? I want to try and include as many artists of color, women, and outsider artists as I can.
It’s easy to find Van Gogh and stuff like that, but I want something a little more updated.
Sometimes things work out
Sometimes you’re driving to work with a vague lesson plan in mind and you’re stressing because you have them for 100 minutes and you’re not quite sure what to do with them. And you ask yourself, “What do they need before they graduate?”
THEN. Then it all comes together in a great idea. Then you use your tutorial time to lesson plan and it comes together.
You share the plan, and then the kids are thinking and talking and moving and you’re just supervising. They don’t even need you. You’re just there. You make some small changes and tweaks as you go, but really, you’re just there. Watching. Laughing. Smiling. And it works out.
And it once again reinforces your terrible habit of not planning things ahead of time.
Problems with Teach for America and Suggested Solutions
There is a job shortage in America, but a recent solution implemented by the Obama administration has been to create infrastructure jobs through the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Its tag line is “Putting Americans to Work”. Consider if, as part of this act, a new organization called The Engineers of America (EoA) was created. Recruits would be degree holders from top universities in America, and their degrees would be proof of their academic success. These degrees would span all majors and disciplines from educators to scientists to linguists to engineers. Motivated by a greater desire to improve America’s roads and bridges, these individuals would apply for and be accepted to EoA by signing a two-year contract. They would participate in a six week training program that would prepare them by teaching skills in planning, structure, and building techniques used to construct bridges in high needs areas where the bridges are dilapidated and unusable. At the end of this training period, EoA recruits would be individually responsible for their creations. Now answer me this - would you willingly drive a car containing your family across a bridge built by a biologist or English major whose only experience in engineering amounted to a six-week crash course?
The point of my hypothetic scenario is nothing new in the ongoing criticism of Teach for America (TFA) within the field of education. This conversation has become recently relevant to my life in light of my graduation from a four year university with a B.Sc. in English Education. Founder of TFA, Wendy Kopp, was my commencement speaker, and she delivered a speech that was a thinly veiled sales pitch for her organization and life’s work towards reducing the achievement gap, a phrase popularized by her organization. The problem with TFA is not with its well-intentioned ideals, but with its execution. As highlighted above, I take particular fault with the lack of preparation given to those who commit to the program due to its implications for the teaching profession as a whole.