'Ohana Means Family

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 26 2012

What’s in a Turnaround?

Week three is done and week four begins in less than 24 hours.

We are a Turnaround school, we are improving, we are going to beat this negativity.

The schedule keeps changing, in week 2, students received new schedules a few times and teachers received a new schedule on Thursday. In week 3, all of our schedules stayed the same, aside for a few students who submitted schedule changes.


Week 4 is going to begin with a lot of schedule changes because they are adding honors courses. This time, the schedule changes are for a positive reason.

I am not sure if this will affect the middle school or not but at this point, going with the flow is the way to keep your sanity.

I have Joel Osteen on while I am writing this post this morning. His preaching helps keep me positive. I haven’t had much time to read his book (okay, at all) but I get the updates on facebook and those two sentences a couple times a day are pretty uplifting.

We HAVE to succeed.

We WILL succeed.

It’s getting better.

The most negative thing at  school right now is the anger, violence, gangs, and drugs.

We are all getting a handle on this though. There have been multiple fights this past week but the administration is making it clear we don’t do that. The rosaries are still driving me crazy but the students are starting to realize we aren’t going to tolerate anything.

My biggest victory this week: I gave detention to seven students- since I handed it out, they had to come to my classroom after school. I had FOUR students show up. I know that’s only a little over half, but this is huge. Four students, four that were disrespectful and disruptive, respected my authority enough to come to my room after school and serve their detention. These four students were more well behaved and respectful the following days than I had seen them. Hopefully this trend continues.

Friday’s detention didn’t go as well, but I had awarded  A LOT more. We started hall sweeps on Friday for Tardy students. If they are tardy, teachers lock their doors and they have to go to In School Suspension (ISS). A lot of students were tardy, and really angry with me for locking my door. But if I make exceptions now, they aren’t going to follow the rules, ever. I even had students try to pull the door open as I was closing it but I still shut it. The perpetual tardies are disruptive and until they realize that I am serious, I am going to have to be a hard-core disciplinarian. Because we had a test Friday, if students were tardy, I put a note on my door for them to come after school to take their test. I am not giving up a day of instruction because my students were tardy. I had 4 students show up after school. They were all seventh graders and were all students I usually do not have any problems with but they were legitimately tardy after lunch.

It’s getting better. I signed up for this. See, signing up for Teach For America, I fully expected to be in a school like the one I am in now. I expected students to curse me out frequently (as a ploy to get out of class but I just reward it with detention). I expected students to be grade levels behind. I think the biggest shock is hearing other people in region complain and wanting to scream at them that they have no idea. We aren’t complaining at my school. It’s NOT that bad. It’s rough, it’s a process, but we’re improving. It will get better, it is getting better, it has to. We are strong and we are going to close the gap, we do not have a choice.

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