By the Numbers

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 15 2008

Day 10: “Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.”

Today’s lead-in quote is a little different in that it’s not from a student, but my principal. I found this morning that, starting October 3, I will be leaving two of my Geometry classes to create the Journalism department. As far as further details, there aren’t a whole lot. I’m not sure if I’m doing a journalism survey or a newspaper class. I have no idea what kinds of students I’ll be getting or what level of interest I’ll have. The whole process is still a bit unclear for me, but we’ll have a few weeks to work it out.

Regardless, I’m excited about the prospect of having a “baby” early in my teaching career. I’ll be starting with a number of fresh canvases in the subject, so I’ll avoid some of the, “I hate math!” mindset that hinders Geometry. Also, I’m working with one of the more untapped areas of Chicago as far as journalism is concerned. There is a lot of history in Austin and traditional media doesn’t really make it down that way for any positive reason. A few good stories could find their way out of ABEA and into one of the Chicago papers, or at least the Mash.

On the other hand, I also have to give up two of my Geometry classes. And, even though I sent out seven members of ninth period today, I’m starting to get into a groove and lay down consequences. I’m almost (gasp!) ready to start letting the students have a little bit of fun next week. So, after getting into a five week pattern of routine, two of my classes will be given new math teachers with different styles, different plans and different management. It will be really hard on the students.

This is one of the things I’m having the hardest time with. For right now, I can’t teach every kid. I need to devote my time to students who want to learn, which often means eight or nine students should be sent out every day until they learn that you can’t do whatever you want whenever you want to. However, I want those students to learn, too. It’s incredibly frustrating to watch those students ruin the experience for everyone else.

All-in-all, it is only my third week. I’m figuring it out slowly (for instance, the sound of my kitchen timer drive students insane to the point that they’ll shut up). It’ll all change again in two weeks, but if I wasn’t prepared for it, I wouldn’t be here.

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    Teaching Math on the West Side of Chicago

    High School

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