'Ohana Means Family

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 21 2013

Quarter 4… Week 5?

I have not posted anything since September. This year has been a whirlwind and there are a variety of reasons for not posting. The main cut off for me was that a couple weeks after my last post our corporate company fired our amazing middle school principal. As things had started to fall in to place the abrupt change caused an immediate hit to both the culture of the school as a whole and the staff culture.
We were struggling; struggling for months and trying to establish the culture that we wanted in our school. We are still struggling to establish a high performing school and a culture of students who respect and care, but we have improved. There was a span of time in my first semester where the only person coming in to my classroom to observe (perhaps on a monthly basis even) was my advisor from Marian. Other than that I was chugging along.
I received an email in January from the math department head saying that he was taking a position at another school and his leave was effective two days later. A month later the other middle school math teacher was put on a leave and there’s been a sub in her room since. Two weeks ago the other math teacher in the building went on leave and hasn’t been back. They got a new math teacher to replace the previous math department head in February. I am the only math teacher that has been at the school since the beginning. Currently we have two math teachers for the entire 7-12 building. We just got two permanent subs for the other two positions. I have been planning all of seventh and eighth grade math and extremely concerned for the 8th grade math scores.
The high-stakes state testing begins in 5 school days. My seventh graders are in a decent place. We are hoping our students make growth even if they do not pass. Our goal this year is 60% passing in all subjects. I am not 100% sure we are on target for this and I feel extremely anxious. I know that at this point, I have one final week to review. I keep telling my students we are prepared but I am still worried!
I hope to post more in the coming days and weeks. Overall, I have stayed pretty positive through this first year however I just couldn’t find the time to allow myself to blog. Here’s hoping that changes. It’s been challenging but I signed up for this challenge and I am convinced that my place is in the classroom.

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