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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 18 2011

First week as a teacher

So it’s finally Friday, and I’m beyond exhausted. My eyes are barely able to say open and it’s only 7:30pm. Early night for me!

My first week, in retrospect, was actually quite good. I’ve grown and learned a lot already. I’m getting more comfortable with lesson planning, and I’ve learned enough about the kids to know a few tricks to keep them engaged. For example, today instead of telling them to talk with their partner, I labeled each partner either “milk” or “cookie” and told the milk to tell their cookie what they thought was the effect of the oil spill using their mental picture which we built off the paragraph we had just read. I also have a squishy orange ball that I use when I need to call on a single person at a time… this way they have a visual reminder of who should be talking, and they also get excited to share their answers because they want to hold the ball.”

I was really proud when I heard that one of my students told my faculty advisor that “Ms. Allen is kinda meaner than the other teachers” to which she responded, “She’s not mean, she just wants you to learn.” When it’s my turn to teach I don’t hesitate to give out a warning or make someone write an apology letter to our class. Those kids know that we don’t have time to waste this summer. They also know I think they’re to smart to be wasting their energy on anything but learning. We’ve been tracking the class average percent of correct answers on of all our assignments on the wall, and when I asked them yesterday where we wanted our average to be for our next assignment they all yelled “100!” I’m glad they’re all getting invested in their own learning, and I was I were more prepared to be a teacher in terms of knowing the objectives and making excellent assessments so they could maximize their growth.

I’m trying to learn more, though. I made one of our students a little notebook of 5th grade sight words for him to take home and practice because he’s at a second grade reading level. When I told him he could borrow my book that we had been reading together so he could practice before the next day, he looked excited. The next day I asked him if he had worked on his expression and phrasing on the two pages we had been using. He said no. I asked, “why not?!” and he responded, “I read four pages!!” I really hope I can help him catch up as much as possible and help the other students with their test-taking skills. Most of them are very bright and finish their work early, but they don’t properly read directions or speed through it just to get it done.

I can’t wait to get back to work this week!

3 Responses

  1. eminnm

    We just finished our first week of Institute here in Phoenix and start our first week teaching on Monday. It sounds like your classroom is a great place–I hope I’m in your spot come Friday! Keep it up!

    • j00lerd

      Thanks for the encouragement… I bet you’ll be amazing!!

  2. geoff

    looking good Julie! Glad you’re enjoying your work! dad

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