By the Numbers

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
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 go well down the stretch for anyone. A stellar first-year English teacher (also TFA) who taught our freshman how to write a five-paragraph essay for real, was let go because of “low NWEA scores.” The junior math teacher who didn’t really teach anything is coming back. Two other good teachers are on their way as well. Staff morale was at its lowest (especially when two second years hit their limit and took jobs and Noble and KIPP).

Meanwhile, I’m very excited for next year. I’ll have all four geometry classes with those aforementioned freshman (now sophomores) and I should keep my honors kids from this year for Algebra II. We’ll be doing a lot more ACT stuff than last year since we’ve juggled some standards.

Softball finished the season 7-1. We bring back the whole team next year. We’re also starting a Math League team for competitions with a revised Enrichment schedule. Reflecting, I’m so glad I had softball for the end of the year because it really pulled me out of a mid-year rut and got me back focused.
All-in-all, I think I did OK in year one. There are a lot of improvements I want to make next year, but I have also realized that I need to be me to succeed. I hope to return to the blog next year, but it may be focus on a couple students who I know are coming in. For instance, the girl who left the Algebra I class (the teacher was ill for the last five months) to join the special ed class since they were learning something and the boy on the quest to be the first in his family to graduate from high school. Thanks to everyone for the comments and support and I hope I can keep this going next year without a late-year interruption.

One Response

  1. Congratulations for finishing the school year! (I am a bit hesitant about congratulating you for getting your job back at the same school though. So much administrative complication…)

    Someone ought to write a dictionary of teacher evaluation idioms. What does it mean to be an insubordinate teacher, and how does power hierarchy benefit student learning? How does one dedicate himself/herself to school policies, and how did those policies come into effect? So many things taken on face value don’t translate well into a new teacher’s understanding — or for that matter, some experienced teachers’ as well.

    Good luck!

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Teaching Math on the West Side of Chicago

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