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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 16 2012

Mixed feelings

Today, the principal and the two assistant principals came to my class at the end of sixth period.  I saw one of their faces peering in through the metal mesh that covers the front door’s window.  At that very moment, the class had finished their exit ticket and, because of their cooperation (they’re not normally very cooperative) I gave them permission to listen to music on their iPhones and to enjoy five minutes of free time.  This is what the principals saw when the came to my class.

Of course, he always says he wants us to be teaching “bell-to-bell.”  That’s what I normally do, but today was the best day we’ve had in a while, so I let them have a few minutes as a reward.  I felt a little embarassed and I explained to our visitors what was up.

I thought they had come by to check on the class because I turned in a couple of referrals yesterday.  I am normally a very patient person with my kids.  I have a high tolerance for nonsense and I’m willing to put up with a lot to keep a kid in the class and keep him learning instead of sending him or her to in-school suspension.  However, I reached my threshold yesterday and, after sending down two referrals, one girl was suspended and another received ISS.

Instead, I found out that the principals had come to my class to observe what I have been doing with my kids.  Apparently, the most recent benchmark test results showed some measurable progress from my kiddos.  They wanted to see how I’ve got my class set up (even though they’ve seen it before) and to watch me teach for a bit.  While I tried to act “normal,” the three principals made their way to my desk, thumbed through the lesson plans on the desk and walked around the room looking at displays of data and motivational stuff.  It was kind of awkward.

Apparently, they are impressed with what is happening in my class and their intention is to almost double the number of students I have next semester, so more kids can hopefully achieve the same kind of progress.  I’m pleased that what I’m doing seems to be working, but having larger, more hard-to-manage classrooms may not be the best way to do this.  I guess it’s going to take some more re-evaluation and reflection to figure out how to do this best.

I suppose I should feel honored that they’re placing more trust in me, but I know it’s going to be harder because of the increased student load.  Wish me luck!


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YOTFAO BACTAG = You only teach for America once, but always challenge the achievement gap.

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