Teachin' Spanish For America

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 29 2012

An interesting week! Reflect.

So it was an interesting week in my school, as my previous two posts may have indicated.  I’ve hit some lows this week — in motivation especially.  Since starting this job I have been tired, and frustrated with my kids and myself and my life and my abilities.  I’ve been frustrated with my school.  This week was the first time that I think I’ve been legitimately angry and felt legitimately and totally underappreciated.

Luckily, when I feel this way I know who to talk to.  Many of my coworkers are sympathetic and inspiring people and I feel lucky to have them around me.  They know that sometimes this work sucks and often, without meaning to, their dedication to doing it anyway reminds me that I can do it, too.  In fact, I have to do it because my kids are counting on me.

My friends old and new and family are a source of strength when I am unable to pull myself out of the minute details of my life to look at the bigger picture.  I am so often caught in the world of teaching that the reminder that there is a whole world out there (incidentally, a world I want my students to inherit and make better) to enjoy.

The kindness of strangers gives me faith as well, and the people who reached out to me on this site were doing more than they realize.

Ultimately I’m an adult and so I must make the choice to suck it up and shut up.  Dwelling on the bizarreness of educational politics within a school will not help.  I can only hope to do my job, do it well, and not step on the wrong toes long enough to effect real change in the lives of my students.  And so that’s what I will do.

Grades are due tomorrow and I’m currently in a Barnes and Noble (I’ve been here since it opened) organizing my papers because for me it’s not really that I need to grade assessments, it’s that I’ve been experimenting so much in my classroom with exit tickets/anecdotal evidence/weekly assessments that I need to figure out what is the equivalent of what and how much everything counts for.  Needless to say my tracking has been an interesting amalgam of techniques.  I do have data that drives my decisions in the classroom…it’s just not a very pretty package.

Speaking of not pretty packages, there are one (maybe two) sections of my assessment that literally every student bombed.  Looking back (and with some input from my MTLD) I realize that the skills in those sections were 1) Not really aligned with the skills they used to learn the vocabulary I was testing them for in the first place and 2) Developmentally inappropriate tasks.  I’m going to have to retest those sections in different ways in the upcoming week but this realization bothered me in several ways.

First, at myself, I work with these kids 2 hours a day (some much more) four days a week.  How did I not realize I was setting them up to fail?  I need to be better at reflecting on the alignment of my lessons to my assessment.  That’s kid stuff for a teacher.

However, my administrators have had my assessment and my LPs since August.  They looked over my assessment the day before I gave it.  I wish that they cared enough to actually look through it rather than glancing through the pages to check if there are any odd formatting issues.

Overall I feel like with a little more oversight I would blossom professional-development-wise.  I’m really looking for feedback and constantly asking for it.  I feel like I’m teaching in a vacuum and that my kids and I are floundering with no one noticing or caring.  I know that’s dramatic and in reality my kids are actually learning a good amount of Spanish, but I want to be the best teacher I can be for them and I am recognizing I need to close the gap not only for them but also between what I need and what I have professionally with a little more hard work.

With that in mind, I’m re-reading Teach Like A Champion and reading a new book … Teaching With Love and Logic. I’m a little skeptical right now but it’s interesting at least.  I’ll keep you updated.  And recommend some books/online resources/etc. for me to grow my teaching for my 120 exploradores!

Enjoy your Sunday all :)


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