About Me

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BLOG REVAMP! I am moving to Arizona and starting a new job as a 5th grade teacher in Phoenix with 65% ELL, 95% Hispanic population, and almost 100% living below the poverty line. I hope all are still interested in hearing my wonderings as I begin my career in my own classroom.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Window

I can't sleep, so I started to think. There is a very important yet often overlooked window of opportunity that each teacher has to make an effect on the lives of her students. Because (think about it) how often did you think about your 2nd grade teacher after 2nd grade? He or she was your idol for one hundred and eighty days. You brought gifts, drew pictures, and modeled yourself after your teacher. They can do no wrong. But to only have this power for one school year? What if you screw it up? You never know the lasting effect that each word, look, sigh, and laugh can have on a student you are teaching. It is a gift to have this opportunity, but forces teachers to wield a large amount of swaying power in every child's life that they come in contact with. I want to have that window of opportunity to make a difference, but how do you make sure you're doing it right?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hissing Cockroaches, Day 1

It's pretty great, the reaction you get from nineteen 8 year olds when you pull out a bunch of creepy crawly bugs. Not to mention, they're four inches long and hiss! Despite the fact that I had a really hard time sleeping last night (having dreams that they were escaping from their cage and into my bed) I was still really excited to bring them into class today for my lesson. Things went mainly according to plan, in my eyes. From the cockroaches' perspective, I think they had a pretty shitty day.

We filled out an observation sheet, where students recorded observations about the roaches' eyes, nose, mouth, legs, exoskeleton, movement, and size. They hypothesized about how the cockroaches were able to hiss, and drew a labeled diagram of one of the bugs. We had one girl who was squeamish (to say the least) but I have to give her a lot of credit for staying within a few feet of the creatures. Overall, a pretty great success! Day 2 on Thursday!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How to make them care? No, not the students...

After attending the district-wide math night at Mount Nittany Middle School on Wednesday evening, I came to realize the truth of what one of my instructors told us at the beginning of the PDS program: that you always want the crazy parents, the ones that will be annoying, involved, and in your face, rather than the parents that don’t give you any trouble.

This was hard for me to understand at first, because obviously I want parents that will support me as a teacher and not make my job more difficult. But when I saw that there were ten parents at the math night out of about 9,000 students that are enrolled in the district, I realized that being involved in any way is better than not making an effort at all. 

This district has had a lot of uproar over the math program that is in place. We teach math conceptually, showing why rather than only how. Parents have understandably had difficulties with this new program, due to the fact that it is very different than how they were taught (and I was taught.) 

However, I thought that giving an opportunity for parents to learn, ask questions, and debate the math curriculum with over 20 teachers, administrators, and principals would be something to jump at. It turns out, there were more math stations set up than there were parents attending. Why is this so enraging? I understand that people are busy, and that things come up, but if your child is learning math in a totally foreign way and you are angry about it, shouldn’t you try to find out more about it? Or maybe get some resources that will help you understand it? 

Obviously, I am not qualified to speak as a parent or a teacher. But as someone who will be a teacher very soon, I can’t believe how difficult this makes my job. If parents don’t agree with what you’re doing, you can offer options to help them, but it’s still totally up to them whether they take advantage of the options or not. How am I supposed to make them care?