'Ohana Means Family

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 18 2012

Week 7

Craziness. Week 6 began with all of the middle school teachers moving their rooms from the first floor to the previously vacant third floor. My boyfriend AMAZING BOYFRIEND helped me move and decorate my room Saturday and Sunday of last week to ensure it was ready for my students, and it was. It helped a lot too, these students need continuity and structure, keeping the room beautiful and how they are used to helped a lot.

We made it through week 6.

Week 7 opened with schedule changes. COMPLETE schedule changes: teachers, students. Everyone in the middle school: new schedule. With this new schedule, the grades that we were frantically trying to enter last week for progress reports- did not transfer over. Neither did the attendance records in our teacher-system so the parents who are calling wondering why their student’s grade is low- I can’t view anything to see exactly why, all i can do is say generally what’s the issue.

But it’s okay, it’s going to be okay. This new schedule is structured so that the inclusion teachers can co-teach with us, so now we have an inclusion co-hort. A nice idea, but I do not have IEP’s for any of my students. We are supposed to sign for them no later than Friday, but I know the list they have is not complete. It’s frustrating but it is what it is.

I am teaching all seventh grade with one 8th grade cohort. It’s a new 8th grade cohort and in the system, a good percentage of them had defiance behavior marks. However, they’ve been angels for me. They’re amazing and I am so excited to have them, to teach them. My seventh graders are still great, it’s just frustrating because the abrupt changes and the breaches in consistency are clearly directly correlating to a lot of behavioral issues.

Also, with this new schedule change, I have prep first period (previously seventh) and a ‘support’ period 2nd period. Today, ‘support’ meant that I was chasing down eighth graders and escorting them back to where they were supposed to be while the campus monitors and administration were all in a meeting together. One student I was unable to find out where she was supposed to be, the three classes she told me she was supposed to be in the teachers all declared “definitely not” so I ended up giving her a math packet and sitting with her. This was not without a lot of arguing and complaining on her part, but she listened to me and I had never had her as a student, so that’s a plus.

Culture is improving, I am still struggling with the TLAC 100% technique. It’s taking my class 18 minutes to come up from lunch. Absurd. But, I refuse to move without the class silent and in a line, I refuse to be one of the teachers who lets their students run through the halls disrupting others. Today some disciplinarians (they’re new- IDK their real names or their roles…) told me they could suspend any students who were disrespecting and being non-compliant. they pulled five students out- it only created chaos and three of the five were not suspended. It felt like it kind of undermined my authority even though I know they were trying to help.

I have more to write but am exhausted. I just graded my 8th graders’ pre-tests and one student who struggles to complete any work for most teachers, not only was on task in my class, but he only missed the vocab section of this pre-test. So excited. But now, it is time to sleep- night world, let the adventures continue.


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Middle School

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