mathinaz

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › Teach For America

Oct 31 2012

Feedback’s Back

My feedback is finally all back in, and it’s fine. I didn’t get exceptionally glowing reviews, but no one was as hard on me as I am on myself. No one came anywhere close. People complimented me on things that I’d been feeling really insecure about, and didn’t attack me on anything that hurt too…

read more »
Oct 30 2012

How could I be sleeping?

I had horrible trouble sleeping last night. I swear I spent the entire night dreaming that I was at work, with a million things that I was supposed to be Dealing With. People kept coming to me to tell me that a kid had done something wrong and I needed to follow up. Then I…

read more »
Oct 26 2012

Conspiracy 101

Another detention? It’s not my fault I got detention. I didn’t do anything. That teacher just hates me. This is not your first detention. I have this feeling that’s not the whole story. Right. The teacher hates me. All the teachers hate me. They just give me detention all the time for no reason. No…

read more »
Oct 25 2012

Arguing 101

Why are you in the office? I don’t know. Did you come here from class? Yes. What happened in class? Nothing. Why did you get kicked out? I didn’t get kicked out! That teacher kicked me out. So you got kicked out. No I didn’t! She kicked me out. I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Can…

read more »
Oct 12 2012

Insecurity

I have never been so anxious about feedback in my life. I have to collect some anonymous survey data from teachers so that I can set goals for my year, and it has me shaking in my boots. I know that this is a great opportunity and their answers are information that I really want…

read more »
Oct 11 2012

Basically A Cop?

I’ve started seeing the following advertisement in my Gmail account: “Mobile Drug Test Kits For Law Enforcement Authorities”   This wouldn’t be noteworthy, except for the fact that Gmail uses information it picks up from your emails to target your ads. It’s also important to note that this comes from my personal email account, where…

read more »
Oct 10 2012

Imagine the rest of my day…

Today, the following words came out of my mouth:   “This is not the time to make excuses for your child. No matter how frightened I have ever been, in my entire life, fear has never caused me to say descriptive things about anyone’s mom’s pubic hair. That is just not a typical stress response.”

read more »
Sep 27 2012

Knowing Parents

I am really bad at parents.   More generally, I am bad at faces; it takes multiple encounters for me to even recognize a face, much less put it with a name. Every year, I explain this to students, ask forgiveness in advance, and then quiz myself relentlessly (“Hi. Is your name John?”) until I…

read more »
Sep 26 2012

Not Aging Gracefully

Sometimes, I have to spend all day with kids who are in too much trouble to go back to class. Today was one of those days.   I was sitting in my office, trying to get work done, and this kid was supposed to be writing an essay. Unfortunately, he is an incessant pencil-tapper and…

read more »
Sep 22 2012

Framed

I dealt with my first very very infuriated parent today. His son got into a fight and he seemed like he was supportive of how I handled it. When he dropped the boy off today, he met with another administrator and seemed fine. Then he called me hours later, ENRAGED, and started yelling at me…

read more »
Sep 21 2012

I didn’t even cry.

One of my Regulars came into the office today, absolutely fuming with rage. She was yelling and ranting nearly incoherently and talking to her was impossible. It took her a loooooooooooooooooooong time to calm down. I was maneuvering so delicately with her that I was paying attention to my posture: I made myself consciously sit…

read more »
Sep 20 2012

Taking Responsibility

A kid got sent to my office today for being tirelessly difficult and disrespectful in class. The hard part about working with him is that he absolutely refuses to take responsibility for anything. After a lot of talking, I finally got him to admit to five different things he had done during that class period,…

read more »
Sep 19 2012

Witchcraft for Angry Boys

I was talking to a psychologist about how to help angry kids calm down when they don’t yet have the mechanism to calm themselves. We’ve tried various forms of breaks, none of which work very well. If we let kids decide for themselves, they don’t yet know what works for them. If we let kids…

read more »
Sep 18 2012

Why I need to know everything

I am learning about gangs. I’m learning which ones are in our neighborhood and which ones are in the city but not near us. I’m learning who uses which colors. I’m learning alternate names and lots of symbolism. Some of it comes of the internet, but mostly our campus security guard is teaching me. He…

read more »
Sep 11 2012

Small Victories

I have been fighting tooth and nail to get this kid to serve his detentions. He has football practice after school and a shaky home life, and had it in his head from Day 1 that detention wasn’t for him.   The first detention he skipped, I went through all the standard consequences. He was…

read more »
Sep 07 2012

Hugs All Around

I need you to imagine an angry, angry sixth grade boy. He’s having a hard time adjusting to middle school, he keeps getting in trouble in his classes, and he’s just gotten scolded in PE. He isn’t able to control his anger and storms away, yelling. I find him sitting in a staircase, yelling “This…

read more »
Sep 06 2012

Why I’m Not A Novelist

I am feeling isolated. I feel entirely alone in the bubble that is my job and I hate it.   There is a huge chunk of student life that I’m just in charge of. It’s my business what we do and how it gets done, which is an incredible amount of freedom but also means…

read more »
Sep 05 2012

Why I Shouldn’t Judge

If there’s one thing that irritates me about first-year teachers, it’s when they start the year thinking they’ll make everything look easy. That by just working a little harder and wanting it a little more, they’ll succeed where the rest of us failed. That by refusing to acknowledge that enormous challenges might stand in the…

read more »
Sep 01 2012

Chasing Children

I chased a child yesterday. His dad dropped him off late to school, and the kid decided that entering the building wasn’t really his thing. He just kept going. By the time a teacher got me down there, he was cutting through a park a couple blocks away.   I wish I had the rest…

read more »
Aug 28 2012

Week 0

School started, and I’ve never been so relieved. It sounds all wrong, but hundreds of children entering the building was a breath of fresh air compared to preparing for hundreds of children to enter the building.   In the week leading up to the first day, I worked pretty much nonstop. I put in 13-hour…

read more »
Aug 26 2012

Validation

Last year’s test scores are back. Mine are good. In-the-media good. Everyone’s-congratulating-me good. Biggest-relief-of-my-life good.   It’s especially exciting because I stressed out for so much of last year over how to teach math. Everyone around me was giving me advice that effectively amounted to teaching to the test. I didn’t want to ignore the…

read more »
Aug 18 2012

More Nightmares

Before the first day of school after a break, I always have nightmares. Every time, it’s been me standing in front of a huge group of kids, none of whom will listen to me. They talk to one another and find creative ways to misbehave. I try every strategy I can think of, and it…

read more »
Aug 14 2012

The Yard Sale Math Book

In the office today, we had a kid spend a few extra hours at school making up some work he owes. This is not often a kid who even shows up at school, which means he’s also often not a kid with all his work done. He also might be a record-holder in a couple…

read more »
Aug 06 2012

How To Talk About Race?

Hey Teacher Community,   My school is trying to start dialogue on our staff about race, class, privilege, and how our own identities affect our classrooms. We have an extremely diverse group of students and a predominately white staff, and some of our teachers have expressed interest in gaining more awareness about the various issues…

read more »
Jul 14 2012

Someone Else’s Easy Day

I taught math all day today. (Remember when that wouldn’t have been a noteworthy sentence?) A teacher wanted the chance to go observe in some other classrooms, and I wanted the chance to hang out with our new students in a non-disciplinary situation. I got to explain math and crack jokes and play games with…

read more »

About this Blog

Region
Phoenix
Grade
Middle School

Subscribe to this blog (feed)


Email

[email protected]

Recent Comments

December 2014
M T W T F S S
« May    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Archives