Thursday, August 24, 2006

Teaching - Day 7

Well howdy do.

I think I can distill my thoughts after a complete week of teaching to a pretty short phrase: "I want to be good. Right now."

Okay, so that was two phrases, but in all seriousity, I want to be so good at teaching, and I want it right now. Of course that's unrealistic, but whatever. I still want it.

I am getting better. Every day brings a bit more control of situations. Every day brings a bit more preparedness in the lessons. End total is that growth is occurring and growth is good.

On Wednesday, my Advisory (read: homeroom) class was signing up for intramurals. We had to decide on a team name, so I went for the democratic approach. Anyone could nominate a name, and then we would vote. The nominations were as follows, in the order they appeared:
1. Princesses
2. Alief Cubs
3. Cubs
4. H-Town Lions
5. Alief Fire (or torches or something I can't remember)
6. Diana
7. Mr. Blair's Pimp Class

So yea. After "Mr. Blair's Pimp Class" was suggested, I just started laughing, and then responded with "That's a great name, but completely inappropriate." Do you think I lost some authority by my response? :^)

Today, a girl asked if she could go to the bathroom, and I gave an emphatic no. She then asked "What if I use it on myself?"
"That would be embarrassing," I replied.
The following interaction ensued.
Other student: "You got that right."
Teacher: "You used it on yourself at school before?"
Other student: "4th grade TAKS test."
Teacher: "Serious?"
Other student: "Yep. I fell asleep during the test, and used it on myself."
2nd Other student: "Yea, and when he came back into the room with different shorts everyone was laughing."

So there you have it. Don't fall asleep during any standardized tests.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I have students!


I am so overdue for an entry that I do not even know where to begin. I guess a really brief summary is in order.

I spent the past couple of weeks (those weeks between the end of TFA Institute and the beginning of the school year) doing lots of nothing. I tried to plan for the school year, but felt directionless.

Last week marked the beginning of in-service for Alief ISD teachers (Weds, 8/9/06 to be precise), and began the gradual increase in workload and panic that I have experienced. I visited my campus, started setting up my classroom, attended a ton of meetings, and finally learned what I would be teaching.

And then suddenly it was Wednesday, 8/16/06, and I was stepping into Alief Middle School as a teacher who was about to meet his students.

I have three classes of Intervention Mathematics. 1st period is a 6th grade class of 11 students. 2nd period is my planning period, and conveniently includes lunch. 3rd period is a 7th grade class of 11 students. 4th period is a 7th grade class of 12 students. Intervention Mathematics is a program for those students who failed TAKS, the Texas standardized test, during the previous year. My students are essentially the lowest performing math students in the 6th and 7th grade. To help these students out, we 'intervene' and make them take math every day for 90 minutes, as opposed to the normal schedule of math every other day for 90 minutes.

What this means is that my students are going to have a lot of time to improve on their fundamental skills, as well as tackle the new objectives for this year.

I am so excited.

A couple points of interest:
6th graders are adorable. They sit so still and quiet, and just look at you and you just can't help but love them.

A surprising number of students answered my survey question which inquired after their best friend with "None".

One student wrote that she was good at "Looking cute".

Another student wrote that he was good at "Spending money".

A surprising number of students wanted to grow up to perform in fields for the reason of helping other people, whether that be in medicine, law enforcement or others.