By the Numbers

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

That was in reference to one of my fourth period all-stars from last year who is now a third period all-star. I’ve heard this same song-and-dance from administrators for two years already. This student is going to change, I believe it. I find it amazing that every new administrator buys into the sweet act from this student. The simple fact is that the student ruins other students’ educations and I have a hard time rationalizing her being in my class, especially now that it’s in a demoted capacity. Not much I can do but hope for this new and improved version to show up at my door 24 hours after her latest singing/talking/doodling/laughing jamboree.
After eighth period, a student who has been trying during the test prep handed me a note. The note was all about how she was afraid she was going to fail because the test prep program is…

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The last two days, as much as I can be negative about my school, really reminded me why I go in everyday. Yesterday we unveiled a new way to do Enrichment day. Instead of the “every teacher plans something” way of last year, students had schedules with three 80-minute Enrichment periods. Mine was College 101…

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Sep 22 2009

Day 11: “What’s my combination?”

I had to assign locks to my senior advisory for the year. To make this process as painless as humanly possible, I made sure all of the locks worked and put them on lockers before school. I then gave the students an index card with their locker number and combination on it, thus hoping to…

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While the explosive nature of yesterday did not return today, third period still made for some interesting discussion. We have a pretty good number of gay students and, as is the case in all situations, are sensitive to the rampant homophobic language in the school. However, I took three students in the hallway for their…

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Sep 17 2009

Day 7: “He got up to it last night.”

I had a classroom first today. A student vomited in class. And by vomited I don’t mean found a trash can or ran out of the door. I mean while sitting at his seat he just started throwing up to the point where he took out four desks, two bags and an aisle since he…

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As I told this student, you are the early leader in the clubhouse for dumbest thing anyone has done this year. Let me explain how this conversation came about: Step 1: Student shouts “Oh shit!” in the middle of the test prep session. Step 2: I say, “Hallway. Now.” I have appropriated some angry teacher…

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Sep 09 2009

Day 2: “When do we have your class?”

What a first two days. If you read last year, you know we hired outside tutors to help the juniors do well on the ACT. It didn’t go great, so, we hired a new company to come in and prepare the sophomores for the PLAN test in October. To do this, we’re pulling them out…

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Jul 03 2009

End of Year

I know I’ve neglected my blogging duties, but I did manage to get my job back. I had to go and make sure for TFA that I was actually fired. My principal, while not retracting any previous comments, said she would bring me back if I dedicated myself to the school policies. Things did not…

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May 14 2009

Day 153: “You’re insubordinate.”

I was told without being told, via a 20-minute conversation with the principal, that I will not return next year. It was by far the most frustrating 20 minutes of life to this point. Obviously I care a lot about my kids and I look forward to finishing the year strong (2nd period was 8/9…

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A majority of ninth period is failing right now. Like 17 out of 24 majority. Monday we made posters about our First Amendment rights that were basically writing down your freedom and coming up with a visual representation of it. One of the comments was, “If we’d make posters all of the time, I’d be…

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Teaching Math on the West Side of Chicago

High School

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