Trust in Your Training

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Yesterday my kids took a diagnostic test; they answered questions about graphs and units and all those things you’ll need to know in science class. Today when I was sharing the data with them and rolling out their “Big Goal” for the year (80% average on all the tests, quizzes, classwork, etc. and 22 or higher on the ACT) I spoke to them about practice. We talked about how in Biology class we’re going to practice those skills they’ll need for college, jobs, whatever the future holds for them.

While giving my speech about practice and meeting goals I recognized that all of my practice this summer, my months of training, my hours planning lessons, my days in the summer school classroom were all preparing me for this. Not only that, but my years of education, my time as director of the after school program, my year abroad. All of those things have culminated into my own classroom. A captive audience for 9 months. A group of students that I’ll try to educate and transform.

Every day I have to remind myself to trust in my training. To remember those basic skills we learned in the first week of pre-service training. I have to remember to praise the little things, to keep my behavioral expectations high, to create relationships with students.

It’s hard to remember that training sometimes. When lesson plans are due and rival gang members are paired up as lab partners and security has to come to confiscate a cell phone. But I practiced and I practiced. So it’s becoming more natural. My classroom is taking shape. My students are saying exactly what I want them to say about me, “Ms. Reveal has a lot of rules.”

Just like my coaches did for me, I’m building that foundation for them. I’m teaching them to sweat the small stuff because we have big goals to accomplish.

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On Plans

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Every night around 9:40, someone drives by and plays “La Cucaracha” on their car horn. That guy has a plan. I like that his routine makes it way into my life every night. It’s comforting, but it’s also kind of shocking when I don’t hear it. When I’m sitting in the living room and 9:40pm comes and goes without fanfare.

I’m comforted by plans and routines. I mean, ask Mom to tell you the story of me asking for file folders for my 3rd birthday. So, these past few weeks while I was looking for a job, I was pretty panicked that I didn’t have a plan. That the first day of school would come and go without me.

I’m so happy to announce though that I have I place to be on the first day of school! I took a position with a small career academy on Chicago’s South Side, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ll be teaching biology to juniors (and I think I have a freshmen advisory). This week I’ve been helping with orientation for all the students, so it’s been wonderful to get to know the school, the staff, and some of the students and parents.

By far the scariest thing I had to do this week was introduce myself to a bunch of juniors and their parents in Spanish. I was so nervous to put my rusty Spanish skills to work, but all I had to say was, “Me llamo Senorita Reveal. Soy la profesora de biología.” And then I sat down. But, boy, was my heart pumping.

My school is about 60% Hispanic, so communicating with parents in their language will be something I’m continually working towards. I’m already plotting how some of my more accomplished Spanish-speaking friends can translate some parent letters for me.

With Emily’s wedding this weekend (read about her engagement here) and the first day of school on Monday, I’m a busy lady. It’s so exciting to have all of these fresh starts happening simultaneously. Wish me luck!

Newness

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I took the week off last week from blogging, and boy, was there a lot going on. I finished teaching summer school, got my provisional teaching license, moved to a new apartment, celebrated a year since my certain special fella took me on our first date, and saw my mother successfully maneuver an abdominal surgery (She is the star patient! Thank you for all your prayers!).

It was a busy busy week for the Reveals. I promised my most faithful reader an apartment tour, so here it is!

First stop, my bedroom. There's a second bedroom too, but it's currently serving as the recovery suite.

First stop, my bedroom. There’s a second bedroom too, but it’s currently serving as the recovery suite.

Next stop is the living room, with Mom's couch from her first apartment.

Next stop is the living room, with Mom’s couch from her first apartment.

Also in the living room is the feature that drew me to the apartment in the first place, my fireplace.

Also in the living room is the feature that drew me to the apartment in the first place, my fireplace.

The dining room is currently my favorite room in the house. Flowers courtesy of my certain special fella.

The dining room is currently my favorite room in the house. Flowers courtesy of my certain special fella.

Kitchen view number 1.

Kitchen view number 1.

Kitchen view number 2. That island was a beast to put together, but it's great counter and storage space.

Kitchen view number 2. That island was a beast to put together, but it’s great counter and storage space.

There you have it! To see more, you’ll just have to come visit! I miss my kitty and Hallie & Matt roommates, but they’re only a couple blocks down the same street. Can I borrow a cup of sugar?