Thursday, July 24, 2013

How to know you’ve arrived as a summer school teacher:

  1. Your students come in an hour and half late but still pick up their early work.
  2. Your students know your name and use it often.
  3. One of your students has attempted to call you by a nickname (e.g. “Freckles”), which you promptly told him was an inappropriate way to address you, but thought to yourself that it was kind of endearing.
  4. Students are no longer afraid to say, “I don’t get it” because they know you’ll help them.
  5. Fist bumps are always reciprocated.
  6. The sound of, “Miss, can you help?” makes you honest to goodness want to cry.

It’s been a long road. Three weeks of battling teenagers to pass their papers in correctly. Three weeks of battling teenagers to come to class on time, to stay awake while learning pie charts, and to call me by my name. I think I’ve finally arrived with only 4 days left. All I can hope is that they’ve learned enough to make them successful in freshman math. That they’ve learned it’s okay to be confused. That they’ve learned to persevere through the toughest lessons in the toughest neighborhood.


Because these daft and dewy-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Here’s what I learned yesterday: never blog on an empty stomach. When you’ve yet to have dinner at 8pm after a 14 hour day, every single thing seems absolutely insurmountable. Really,  I should revise that statement to never lesson plan, or teach children, or look for a job, or look for an apartment on an empty stomach.

See, I’ve done a lot of waiting this week: waiting for the outcome on an apartment application, waiting to start applying for jobs on Monday, waiting for my kids to suddenly understand ratios, waiting for my assessments to be over, waiting to take a nap. It’s a lot of waiting and a lot of overwhelming in here. But, in the morning, with a belly full of cereal and lesson plans submitted, everything seems possible again.

It’s possible for my kids to understand ratios. It’s possible to prepare them for high school. It’s possible to find the perfect place to live. It’s possible to have 3 assessments in one week and survive. It’s possible that I’ll be teaching biology in the fall to a classroom of wonderful kids. Because I’m a dewy-eyed dope who builds impossible hopes, and impossible things are happening every day.

Looking at pictures of this little face always makes me believe that it's possible!

Looking at pictures of this little face always makes me believe that it’s possible!

Lesson Plans on Lesson Plans on Lesson Plans

Thursday, July 11, 2013

After a couple of weeks of 12-18 hour days (gah!), yesterday we had a much-needed afternoon off. After an afternoon picnic on the beach with my fella, I dug into lesson planning.

I thought in lieu of a packed blog post about my past month, I’d do a day in the life of Ruth, so here it goes.

5:00am – Alarm goes off, snooze button abused

5:40am – Finally get out of bed, get my lunch together, look over lesson plans, put on an adorable teacher-like outfit

6:50am – Meet the carpool, drive to the South Side

7:30am – Arrive at summer school, fight with the copier for 20 minutes, consider a new seating chart, consider a new profession, make copies

8:00 – Arrive in the cafeteria to some seriously tired faces

8:15 – Take lethargic 8th graders up to my classroom, shake all their hands, realize I kind of like this job again

8:20 – Attempt to engage my students in math for an hour

9:15 – Finish my lesson, feel defeated, grade Exit Tickets, realized they learned something, feel better

10:45 – Take lethargic 8th graders down to lunch where they become lively 8th graders

11:15 – Write lesson plans in unairconditioned room, roast to death

1:00 – Meet carpool, drive north to training

1:45 – Arrive at training, commiserate with colleagues

2:30 – Start the day’s training, learn about teaching strategies I wish I’d known 6 hours earlier in front of my students

6:30 – Meet carpool, drive even further north home

7:30 – Arrive home, roommate cooked me dinner, I’m the happiest

8:15 – Get back to writing lesson plans

11:00 – Get in bed, think about students, think about lesson plans, think about why they never raise their hands, think about tomorrow, think about students, sleep

Needless to say, there are a lot of up and downs to this job. At times, it’s wonderful, I feel at home in front of my class, I feel like I’m growing exponentially as a teacher every day. At times, it’s discouraging, I worry about my students’ home lives, I worry that they don’t get the material, I worry that they won’t stay in school.

Despite the ups and downs, I’ve already been so blessed to be in the classroom with these kids every day. I’m growing not only as a teacher, but as person. Now, back to the grindstone!

Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It’s been a crazy first week of teaching summer school, and I have so much to update. However, it’ll have to wait because the roommates and I road-tripped to Dayton last night to celebrate the 4th of July with family. Making cakes, watching movies, and cookouts are exactly what the doctor ordered after an exhausting week. More updates next week! For now, enjoy the holiday weekend!