'Ohana Means Family

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 10 2012

First Week in Region: Finished

Just finished the monumental first week in region.

It was a challenging, exciting, yet exhilarating first week. Being a turnaround school, there was a lot of unexpected happening, not to mention schedules changing daily, if not within each period!

Hopefully in the next week or two our schedules (and those of the students!) begin to get finalized.

Overall, I’d say I had a great first week. I had a few really challenging moments, including having to  call a campus monitor for one period (the first day I had them) because I had too many students- more students than desks (and about 5 of them really weren’t in the class, they just simply said ‘here’ when I called role!) That was the most disheartening moment of the week and will continue to be the most challenging part of my day but I think I am making some head way with them (that or they behave when I have people observing me in which case I may be in luck!). The entire school staff has been great, we have a lot of people supporting us and all of us teachers have really come together. The constant change can be difficult but it certainly keeps it exciting.

Events from the week/things I learned in my first week:

  • Made it through the first lock down of the year (everyone was safe)
  • students are not allowed to wear rosaries to school (apparently, it’s a gang sign- who knew?)
  • even when students have a choice to go to the school, they will be resistant to uniforms
  • my birthday was Tuesday (the second day of school) and students kept asking me how old I was this week. I was honest, told them I was 23 and they are convinced that I was lying and am really at least 32 (one said i’ve been teaching too long to be 23… yeah, let’s go with that!)
  • behavior narration: it works in middle school. who knew? haha
  • whole brain teaching- still working hard for that buy in, seventh graders are thus far more eager than my eight graders
  • ALL of my students (except my one period I needed assistance with) heard the speech from We are Marshall. Instead of “funerals end today” we say failure ends (yesterday!) and they are pretty in to the idea of creating history and a legacy for themselves.
  • sometimes, the kids who act out are the ones who need you on their side the most. Finding this out this quick helped this  week move smoothly.
  • our school had its first (girl) fight today. we all survived.
  • Creating the culture we want has been our focus for the week and we’re still chuggin’ to make this a reality.
  • My principals are amazing.
  • so is the entire staff.


Brief post, it’s been a long week, hopefully I’ll get another one in soon!


overall, this week: success.

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