mathinaz

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jun 19 2012

Immigration Story

This weekend, I took a student’s mother to her lawyer. She doesn’t have a license to drive herself there and can’t speak English well enough to communicate confidently on serious matters. This visit was serious because she isn’t here legally, and needed to see someone about a small violation that may or may not lead…

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Jun 15 2012

Everything Wrong With The World

I got a phone call tonight from a former student… if you’ve been reading my blog long enough, I hope you can guess who. (Yep! THIS KID.) Unfortunately, the call was heartbreak after heartbreak, but you’re going to have to re-live it with me.   I’ll let you digest all of the things wrong with…

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Jun 05 2012

Strategic Insanity

I was trying to explain to someone what the “Careful, Your Teacher Has Gone Absolutely Insane” emergency discipline response is (see my last post), and was reminded during my storytelling of why it is my absolute favorite when all else fails. It was my second year of teaching when I first (accidentally) tried it successfully:…

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Jun 04 2012

Gremlin Takeover

Last week, I decided I was going to consciously make an effort to be kind to my kids. It’s not that I’m not normally kind – I love my kids intensely and they know it – but the end of a school year makes you act a little crazy. Exhaustion peaks and tempers flare, both…

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May 24 2012

The End Of Little Twos

My first year teaching, vocabulary was about as far from my mind as possible. I was in the business of figuring out which battles to fight, and competing for my attention were things like kids who couldn’t add and classrooms that operated at a dull roar while I tried to talk. If a kid was…

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May 20 2012

Failure of a Teacher Protection System

Once upon a time, I taught the same subject in the same grade in the same district as a brand new first year teacher. This teacher was fresh out of student teaching with one of the best veteran teachers around, and a couple of schools actually fought over who would get to have him. The…

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May 15 2012

Religion and Schools

Let’s be honest: waking up early on a Saturday, putting on a teacher dress, and spending all day criss-crossing across town between Catholic masses and parties full of strangers is not most people’s dream way to spend a weekend. Turns out it’s not so bad.   This Saturday was a big First Communion day for…

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May 10 2012

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week…

I have something to tell parents. This might be worth keeping in mind the next time you start screaming relentlessly at a teacher informing you of a consequence.   First, I am not out to get your child. I see 130 kids every day. I love them dearly or it wouldn’t be worth coming to…

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May 03 2012

One of my babies was in a very big accident yesterday. She’s in bad shape and the long-term damage might be very serious.   Every time I’m alone, I just sit and cry.    

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May 02 2012

DWW Problem Solving (NCTM Takeaway 4)

By popular demand (and because I need somewhere to organize this for myself), I’m going to put up a series of posts about what I learned at the NCTM conference. If you’re a math teacher, I hope this is as valuable for you as it is for me! (If you’re not a math teacher, I…

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May 01 2012

More Problem Solving (NCTM Takeaway 3)

By popular demand (and because I need somewhere to organize this for myself), I’m going to put up a series of posts about what I learned at the NCTM conference. If you’re a math teacher, I hope this is as valuable for you as it is for me! (If you’re not a math teacher, I…

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Apr 30 2012

Ideas for Group Work (NCTM Takeaway 2)

By popular demand (and because I need somewhere to organize this for myself), I’m going to put up a series of posts about what I learned at the NCTM conference. If you’re a math teacher, I hope this is as valuable for you as it is for me! (If you’re not a math teacher, I…

read more »

By popular demand (and because I need somewhere to organize this for myself), I’m going to put up a series of posts about what I learned at the NCTM conference. If you’re a math teacher, I hope this is as valuable for you as it is for me! (If you’re not a math teacher, I…

read more »
Apr 25 2012

It’s A Birdy

I have a student who somehow managed to be in sixth grade while two years older than everyone else and completely hardened against any sort of behavior consequence. He does the most ridiculous things you can imagine, and nothing we do to him will even get him to blink. He’s tough and he’s angry, and…

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Apr 23 2012

NCTM Conference Help?

I’m going to the NCTM National Conference on Wednesday, and my directions are to “go to whatever you want and bring things back to share with other math teachers.”   This is lovely in the freedom it provides, but I unfortunately don’t actually have any idea how to do that. What, exactly, will other math…

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Apr 20 2012

Nerd Alert

I love sixth grade math because there is so much room to develop conceptual understanding, and that’s great for kids and an excellent mental challenge for me. But I didn’t realize how much I miss doing math that I, personally, find fun to do. I’ve taken over our advanced math class for a couple weeks,…

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Apr 18 2012

Crazy Lady

I let one of my biggest behavior problem boys draw a portrait of me the other day. I absolutely knew I was asking for trouble…it was one of those times when I gave him special permission to do his thing because I knew how entertaining it would be. He produced this… … which does need…

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Apr 17 2012

Too Fat

On my prep, I walked by two of my kids sitting in the hallway outside of science class. The Straight-A student was on his knees and leaning urgently over a paper on the ground, looking anxious. The other boy was slumped on the floor against the lockers, in full sulk. When I asked what they…

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Apr 14 2012

Teacher For A Day

I have one student who does her best, every day, to not pick up her pencil in math class. She refuses to get started, refuses to ask for help, and refuses to so much as copy down a problem or attempt a first step. It could come from confidence (she is definitely lower than the…

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Apr 10 2012

Rotten Orange Trap

“Miss, somebody put a rotten orange in my backpack.”   As a teacher, you probably know that moment – something mean has happened to one of your shy, sweet kids, and you need to handle it. Unfortunately, you have no idea who did it or who to start asking, and your “Someone needs to step…

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Mar 28 2012

Thanks, Jeff Li

The universe is talking to me. Read this. The standard lines have been spinning through my head since I found out about the Admin opening at my school: “No one goes back to teaching. You’ll never be a teacher again. If you love teaching, don’t try anything else. No one ever goes back.” I get…

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Mar 25 2012

To Be Or Not To Be… An Administrator?

There is a brand-new opening for an administrative position at my school next year. It’s the charter school equivalent of an Assistant Principal – major school-running duties, teacher support, and primary control over discipline.   As the current Teacher Leader at my school, I’m sort of the logical next-in-line. I already run weekly meetings, support…

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Mar 21 2012

Mean Girls

I find Bitchy Girls to be the absolute hardest to handle. I’ll take Angry Boys any day. I’ll take Loud and Obnoxious. I’ll take Bullies and Violent Kids. I’ll take Emotionally Disturbed. I’ll take I-Can’t-Add-With-My-Fingers-And-Hate-You-For-Making-Me-Try. I’ll take the gangter who wrapped a wire around a kid’s neck in class my first year. I’ll take the…

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Mar 13 2012

Peer Approval, Manipulated

Kids are ridiculous little creatures. My best class at the beginning of the year has become my worst class now, and I go in every day with no idea what to expect. They have a couple of explosive personalities who can really affect the mood of the entire class (it would actually be impressive to…

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Mar 02 2012

April NCTM Conference and ME

I am GOING to the annual NCTM conference in Philadelphia this April.   My district is giving me the days off of work and paying for the trip. They need someone to spearhead curriculum development for math (which is largely ignored currently) and hopefully this means they’ll let me help….   I know this makes…

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