Along The River

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 16 2011

I am a teacher.

The first week has been crazy. I can’t believe tomorrow I’ll have been teaching for 8 days. That’s about 46 hours in front of children. I had 16 at institute. However, I would much rather have had more students than more time teaching. Getting 30 students to stay quiet is so so so much different than getting 14. I have found that I have no natural abilities in that area; it’s my number one priority. I started teaching content yesterday, and due to my inability to quiet my class it’s not going so well. My plan is to get through this week, give them their quiz on Friday, and then do some Investment Part 2 next week. I need to introduce SLANT, a consequence system, and a rewards system. Of course, I thought I had a consequence system and a rewards system but I didn’t, not really. I’m just so overwhelmed right now that I can’t really get myself to do those things until next week.

Two things TFA doesn’t think to tell you: 1) teaching at institute is very different because, for the most part, the students have atleast seen that material before. 2) find out if you need to get a parent letter approved by your principal. Lots of people in my corps didn’t know that and we reprimanded.

What has been the craziest thing is realizing that my kids know how to look busy without learning a thing. I constantly hear, “Do I need to write that down?” I’m trying to teach them note taking skills and it is really difficult. They can copy down an entire powerpoint slide (NOT my goal) but not understand any of it. Any suggestions? I’m thinking about teaching without a powerpoint but it really is helpful to ensure that I cover what I need to cover. Another option is to make a weekly guided notes sheet that details the key points and provides an example. That way they don’t need to copy them down. The issue there is that I need to put my copies in 48 hours in advance, so that would be Thursday for Monday. Hopefully I’ll get to that point in my planning soon.

2 Responses

  1. Andrew

    Maybe have them listen instead of take notes. Can you provide lecture notes if you are taking that approach? Or can you just provide a relevant chapter from some book or a reference to a web site for those who want it? Some have even suggested doing videos of lectures so that kids can re-watch, though I doubt this would be helpful in your environment.

    Hope things are going better.

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