mathinaz

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › 2011 › March

Mar 31 2011

Just saying.

Today, I found out I was nominated for my school’s Teacher of the Year award. An hour later, I found out that I am not getting performance pay money because I missed a couple of the second-year-teacher trainings (which I would have gone to if I weren’t coaching for my school) . Oh, the great…

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Mar 30 2011

Punches and Cuffs

Last week, one of our kids threw punches at the assistant principal on the playground. He ended up having to use his CPI training to pin the kid to the ground until the cops showed up. Same kid showed up back in school on Monday and caused such a scene that there was a handcuffs-and-police…

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Mar 29 2011

Last In, First Out?

Okay, start by reading “LIFO is Good” by the famous Gary Rubinstein (one of the few people in the TFA world who actually has substantial experience… read his blog) and then “LIFO is Good Part II” which is his response to my comment. (Does a shout-out from Mr. Rubinstein make me feel famous? Yes.) For…

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Mar 25 2011

Honor Society

I am co-advisor for my school’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, and we had our induction ceremony today. It was all the fabulous 6th-8th graders getting to walk across the stage and get recognized for being fabulous, and there really isn’t anything better than that. They were all dressed up, their parents and…

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Mar 24 2011

Like vs. Respect

A teacher friend of mine was recently told by someone very high up in her district, in all seriousness, that “it’s better to have the students like you than respect you.” This advice shatters my world. Especially coming from a supervisor of teachers. In an ideal world, obviously you have both, and plenty of teachers…

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Mar 23 2011

So I had to come back

Yesterday, I held my class for a few minutes into recess, because they’d been chatty and I still needed to close my lesson when the bell rang. (To be fair, the chattiness could have been prevented. My lesson was WAY too hard for half the kids and WAY too easy for the other half, and…

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Mar 22 2011

What To Do

As promised, I went into school today ready to apply my new “What Would Doug Lemov Do?” approach and try out some of the things from Teach Like A Champion. Of course there are a million things that happen everyday that I should practice doing better, so I had an opportunity pretty immediately to try…

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Mar 20 2011

A Love Letter

Teach Like A Champion by Doug Lemov. Readers who teach: have you read it yet? If not, you need to read it right now. The first person who recommended it to me said something along the lines of, “It’s great! It tells you had to do all the basics of teaching, like having high expectations…

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Mar 20 2011

Mama Grizzly

READ THIS. It’s also worth following the link in the article to read the full letter. The short version is that a substitute went into a classroom of basically my kids (I mean, not actually, but I know enough about that school to know that they really might as well be my kids) and wrote…

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Mar 11 2011

Compliant vs. Engaged

Because I’m a member of my district Math Committee and the person who runs it is wonderful, I got the chance today to have a sub in my classroom and go observe 8th grade math classes in another district. I’ve never actually observed another math class since I started teaching, so I’m really grateful I…

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Mar 09 2011

Losing to a bunch of little kids

For some reason (it’s probably the same time of year) I keep having these flashbacks to a moment in my first year, which I remember uncomfortably vividly. It was too early in the morning, and I was trying to put posters on my wall. I have this huge concrete wall that’s nearly impossible to hang…

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Mar 08 2011

A-Game on the kitchen counter

I hate days when I don’t bring my A-game to school… like today. Middle schoolers can smell when you aren’t 10,000% prepared for them, and they don’t tend to be kind to weakness. It started when I overslept and then had to stop for gas anyway. When I got to school, I was so excited…

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Mar 06 2011

Readers, I need your help!

Hey Readers, There’s a chance I’m moving to a new city this summer. I want to keep my same job (secondary math, similar demographic, preferably public school) and I’d pick up my current school and move it if I could, but I might need to try a new place to live. (This is a big…

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Mar 06 2011

Sue Lehmann

The Sue Lehmann Award is a national award TFA gives to second-year teachers each year. The criteria are the following: Will students emerge from this classroom on an enduring trajectory filled with opportunities for success in college and life? Are students on a mission – working hard with passion, joy, & urgency to a goal…

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Mar 04 2011

Looters after a natural disaster

I’m not kidding that the kids are crazy lately. There were 2 fights on my floor of the middle school building today. Kids get In School Suspension (ISS) for misbehaving terribly (telling teachers to “Fuck off, bitch” is becoming a classic example), and then get sent to Out of School Suspension (OSS) for mocking and…

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Mar 02 2011

That time of year?

Our middle school building is quickly becoming a disaster zone. We have kids skipping classes, doing drugs in the bathrooms, fighting, stealing, swearing at teachers… and that’s just the big blatant stuff. What’s worse is all the low-grade obnoxiousness and defiance that make it hard to run a classroom and maintain a feeling of control.…

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Mar 02 2011

Blog Update

Over the last two days, I’ve heard from multiple people that the old link to my blog doesn’t work anymore and RSS feeds etc. need to get updated. I know it’s probably useless to write a blog entry for people who don’t see my blog anymore, but just in case… please update the URL to…

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I spent all day today yelling at my kids. All day. Every day, my class warm-up is 5 questions from throughout the curriculum, spanning basic skills to what we learned the previous week. It’s variations on the same questions for a week, during which we review, I re-teach if we’re not getting it, and we…

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March 2011
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