Wednesday, September 23, 2009

There Will Be Stories.

It is so encouraging to wake up three weeks in and still feel like I have the best job in the world.

Though, Sunday nights are still very difficult for some reason. I go to sleep (or try to) and find myself anxious, sick, and depressed. Then I wake up Monday morning and can’t wait to get to school and spend time with my kids. I don’t know why, but something tells me I should just get used to this. Maybe it’s the upcoming nine weeks without any breaks…

My feelings toward TFA change daily. Today, my mood is: displeased. After the 12 hours we spent away from Jackson due to the “South” Delta Pro-Sat in CLEVELAND on Saturday, I spent several hours on Sunday reformatting “Tools” I had already created to fit TFA’s preferred template in order to turn it all in, oh, about a month after having these tools in this format would actually be useful. And, as I’ve been teaching science for a total of 6 DAYS, and most of the Delta has been in school for well over a month, much of the Pro-Sat information (like last time) was geared for people weeks ahead of me in terms of data and familiarity with their students. Most of my weekend was dedicated to what I felt was arbitrary training-for-training’s sake rather than actual work that I could have been doing for my students and my classroom. On the other hand, the Middle School Science Learning Team has been helpful both weeks regardless of my belated state and has made me feel a little bit less like I’m trying to crawl onto a treadmill while someone else is pushing the “Increase Speed” button.

Highlights of the week:

- Professional development day: My staff had an impromptu jam session by turning our acrostic poems about READING into incredible songs and chants during our PD last week, AND we Tootie Tah’d together- without any students present!

- BEST MOMENT YET: So, a few of my favorites (whatever, it happens) seem to have been behavior problems in the past; they sit in isolation at lunch, teachers seem to get on them a little bit quicker than other students for minor misbehaviors, you won’t see them as teachers’ helpers or on Student-of-the-Week lists, etc. But for whatever reason, (maybe they recognize a new teacher and new classroom as a fresh start), they are an absolute joy in my class. One student in particular, let’s call him Big D (if you saw him you’d understand), even started bringing his glasses to class this week so he could see the board. Well, my all-boys group from the inclusion class had, per usual, gained control of my classroom as I was trying to model how to measure things. (And yes, my 5th graders need to learn how to use a ruler, scale, and thermometer. Especially before doing a lab that uses all three.) Anyway, he sat quietly all day taking down notes, took home my sample copy of our foldable to make sure he had all the information to study off of, and asked if he and his friend (who is also incredibly well-behaved during my Chaos Class) could stay after school to work. Then at the end of class, he tapped me on the shoulder, looked DOWN at my face, and asked me: “Was I good today?” We can’t let students stay late or request they come early without their parents’ permission, but I took down his home phone and told him I’d tell his parents how wonderful he was all day. He was beaming as he gave me his home number, and then asked, “Do you want my dad’s cell phone, too?”
*** On a less warm ‘n fuzzy note, Big D’s Dad said three words to me: “Ok. Thanks. Bye.”***

- TIED FOR BEST MOMENT: In my worst class of the day today (usually they’re great) I was shouting my lesson over the students because they wouldn’t stop talking. I was just about to repeat the boiling point of water for the umpteenth time WHEN --- my principal walked in. She asked the students, “What are we learning today?” In my head, I say to myself, “Oh God. NOTHING. Nothing at all.” The kids all responded: “Physical changes!” (WHAT?! They heard me?!) Then the principal said: “What else?” Again. I thought NOTHING. NOTHING else. The kids shout out: “We’re learning to use thermometers!”, “And a balance to measure mass!”, “We’re looking at shapes!”, and one girl even shouted out, “We’re learning to become science masters!” I couldn’t help but congratulate them after… let’s just hope it sticks!

- I went on my first Field Trip as a teacher. During the field trip I learned:
o ALL KIDS, I repeat, ALL KIDS love Miley Cirus and High School Musical. I’m still not sure if I find this hilarious or scary.
o Field trips are EXHAUSTING. No matter how ‘easy’.
o The schools in Jackson, like many parts of the city, are black, or they are white. Maybe one or two truly mixed schools. It’s not surprising, but shocking when you see it right in front of you in the faces of 500 elementary students sitting in huge sections of dark or light skin. And in Jackson, it’s pretty easy to see how closely race is associated with geography (again, not surprising, but still jarring to be confronted with). If you’re from North or East Jackson, you’re probably white. If you’re from South or West Jackson, you’re probably black. It’s not something lost on native Jacksonians, either. After I told my yogilates teacher where I worked (& she seems to be generally open-minded individual) she stopped, looked at me, and said, “You’re in West Jackson?" [Pause] "Bless you, honey,” while shaking her head.

So, there are some of thoughts. I can barely stay awake when I get home anymore. I even skipped the gym today because: A) I just couldn’t do it. B) I have too many things to do/fill out/plan for.

Tomorrow, we have a lab about chemical changes involving baking soda, vinegar, and actual DANGEROUS CHEMICALS. Matty B is coming to observe.

I WILL have stories. :)

1 comment:

  1. It is true, they do all love Miley Cyrus!

    I'm so glad that you are finding ways to connect with your students. It's really cool that you are fostering a passion for science in them. I only wish I had had a teacher as cool as you when I was that age!