mavlast

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 05 2007

Moment of Truth

Well, here it is: the night before my first day of teaching. Tomorrow I begin what will likely be a two year journey (I’ll likely move on with them into 8th grade) with roughly 25 kids. Here’s the update:

I’ve finally understand the dismal view people have of the Newark School system. I essentially had 3 days to sort through enough material to support 4 classrooms. Keep in mind, I’ve yet to have a formal meeting with either my math coach or my science coach, so I really have no clue what I need and what I don’t. I had so much stuff that the things I couldn’t go through I just pushed to the back and will get through it after-school over the next few days. Ciara (another TFA friend in Newark, she was also in my collaborative at Institute) just found out today (the day before school starts) that she’s also teaching science in addition to math. Same as me, but I’ve known about it for quite some time.

Either way, I’m doing almost the entire math diagnostic tomorrow as a way to occupy my students while I get some more time to get some concrete plans down. I got some other ideas, but I’m really just buying time at the moment. In that sense, Institute was a million times better in that we had full information and a decent amount of time to really prepare and work within the framework. Here, we are told about the framework just before we start teaching.

The environment at my school is nice. I like my fellow 7th grade teacher, Mrs. Snipes. She’s very nice and will be quite helpful as she had these students last year in 6th grade. I don’t sense many racial issues on the faculty– ie. it doesn’t seem to effect people’s perceptions that I’m not in the majority race, which is a good thing. Ironically, I notice groups among faculty form more along lines of age than anything else, which I guess is fairly normal in any social group.

Overall, though, I feel quite good. The reason? I’ve learned a lot and more importantly, I’ve learned from the right people. I’m taking some of Anna’s 1st day material and using it tomorrow. I feel so bad for calling her to ask all these teaching questions, but she really is that fantastic at this stuff, so I feel that it’s worth it. And of course, she’s so nice about it, too, so it makes me feel less guilty.

Anyway, I have to print out some stuff, even though I’m more inclined to keep watching Federer-Roddick. Knowing me, I’ll stay up till about 1 watching it and then wake up at 5:30am tomorrow….. Ah, just like Institute :)

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