Teachin' Spanish For America

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 16 2011

Oh, hey, Teach For Us…

How’s it going?  Long time no talk.  Saying I have been busy is an understatement, but you know that’s the case for all the teachers on here and so I must admit that I don’t have any legitimate excuse.

In the weeks since I have posted, I have gone through professional development and been at my school for around 4 weeks.  I have been teaching Spanish for two weeks, and content for one week.  I moved closer to my school (during a hurricane, as a matter of fact).  Incidentally, I also help teach literacy in the mornings in second grade and help with Targeted Academic Support in the afternoons.

Most days run about 12 hours (6-6, then grading at home), and administratively, my world is hanging on the edge of chaos at each moment.  We are a few teachers short of a picnic, as some quit in the first week and others are threatening to if their positions are not shifted.  Of course we know that supplies, money, etc., are scarce, but communication is too.  Everyone is polite, but it doesn’t really translate to teamwork.  At least not yet for me.

But the kids.  Oh my gosh, my kids are amazing.  There are trying ones (a decent handful, many with IEPs whose law-mandated needs are not being met), but they are all lovable at the very least, and all smart and capable of learning Spanish.  I’m just finishing up my first week of content.  The difference between the exit tickets on day 1 and day 2 were amazing — like a 30% jump in each class’ average!  I was so happy.  I’m making each student an individual tracker folder with their tracker, their name in their favorite color, and a strip of their own stickers to mark their trackers with.  I hope they are as excited as I am — we did a mini lesson on the trackers but it’s been a while.

Trying to move and teach at the same time was a truly interesting experience.  We didn’t have hot water for almost two weeks, or a stove or dryer.  I looked pretty bad that week!  But the kids don’t notice.  One kid even told me my hair smelled good the other day when I bent down to give him a check.  Bahahaha.

I’ll update more in the future (I’m on lunch, and I’m teaching kindergarten all day today — I know you’re saying wtf), but I just wanted to indicate my essential alive-ness.

I’m in the right place.  I’m doing the right thing.  And I hope it keeps working :)


4 Responses

  1. morena99

    Just saw a piece on CNN about Teachers Leaving the Profession. They should do one on teachers like you. Hang in there!

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement. The way things look, I’m not leaving anytime soon, but I don’t blame those who do!

  2. Roberto

    Hi Heike,
    I find quite interesting your blog because right now I am Spanish instructor
    in an US college. Since I come from Mexico, I thought it will be a great idea
    to obtain some insights from you in regard to teaching spanish.
    I think we are in the same boat, sometimes I grade homework at home. you know what?
    that is not good, we as teachers should draw a line between home and job.
    As far as I know this is your first year teaching Spanish. Hey!!! you are NOT alone!
    if you need help, then speak up!
    I am sure you must like kids that is why you decided to teach little ones. All I can
    say is do your best!! keep in touch.
    Roberto (Nebraska)

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I hope things are going well in your teaching this year and I’m glad to have your support. Abrazotes, Heike

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