Along The River

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 16 2011

The math teacher becomes the science teacher…

Has it really only been a little over 2 weeks since my last post? It feels like a lifetime. I’m gonna throw out a question real quick: When they say October is the worst month in a first-year teacher’s career, are they referring to the second month of teaching? “On Gooooood” (a saying my students use all the time) I hope so. Because it’s only September and if it’s getting worse I don’t even know how I’ll deal with that. I’m hoping that saying refers to a northern school calendar where school starts at the beginning of September. If I’m right, that means there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, maybe only three weeks away.

This week has felt like an eternity. The Friday before Labor Day my principal told me that I might be switching from 7th grade math to 7th grade reading. This would take 7th grade class sizes from 30+ to about 24. The 6th grade science teacher (TFA) would move to 7th grade math (she’s a much better teacher than I am). 6th grade science was pretty much going to be left to languish, with the other 6th grade teachers teaching it at the end of the day. At first I was upset, but the more I thought about it the more excited I got. I love reading and was hoping that my passion for it would help motivate the students. So the following week came and we had no surety. On Saturday the principal told us we would make the switch Thursday. Fast forward to Monday and we get an email saying that class sizes are ok (psh no.) and there aren’t going to be changes. My heart sank because I just wasn’t sure I could stay in that classroom with those 4 sets of 30 students. Two hours later the principal stopped me and told me that, effective Thursday, I would be teaching 6th grade science. We had two days to transition our classrooms and plan.

I’ve now been with my new students for two days. Two of the classes are tough, two are great, and one is okay. I’m worried about the content part a lot. I spent two days on procedures and investment stuff and am switching to content on Monday. I was never that into science and I’m not really sure how to plan a science lesson but I’m meeting with the Science MTLD tonight. Hopefully she can shed some light and help me out.

3 Responses

  1. Ms. Paul

    i had a very similar situation happen to me. After teaching 3 weeks of 7th grade science I wouldn’t go back to math. Although it will be tough to stay ahead in the content this actually works to your advantage in being able to break things down and anticipate pitfalls in the learning. I was also surprised at how easily science can be engaging and exciting for the kids. Infuse what you know best into your science and it will become that much better. The biggest lesson my kids have learned and loved is the idea that scientific thinking is just learning in it’s rawest form, and as scientists students and humans we just make educated guesses and try…sometimes our answers are right but most times they are wrong. It is very powerful for students to have that understanding when approaching anything in life. It will be a blessing in disguise!!!

  2. zacksg1

    I just found out that I might be moving from 7th grade math to 7th grade math on the other side of the building with different kids. For others who have experienced something similar, anything I should particularly look out for as we transition and start with a new class 6 weeks into the school year?

    • CY

      They will test you on the first day. Unlike the real first day of school, where they are generally well-behaved, now they are used to school and they want to see how far you’ll let them go. I’m calling about 10 parents tomorrow to show them that I don’t play.

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