Jan 31, 2009

A Year Later, A Lot Wiser...


Apparently trying to start and update a blog during my first year of teaching was a bit naive on my part. :) Now, the first year is over, and I'm half way through my 2nd year. It's been good so far. Better than last year, only because *I* am better than last year. I feel so much more comfortable and in control than I did last year, and better able to decide which things are worth fighting / working for, and which I can / should let slide.

My school (in the Bronx) still kinda sucks. And by "kinda" I mean, I wouldn't send my children there (if I had children) for a million dollars!! We're an "A" school again this year, but then, anyone that encourages teachers to lie on their survey "so we can get the extra $3,000" and changes students' Regents scores against most teachers' wills can probably keep an "A" indefinitely! They also change grades behind the teacher's backs and pass students who don't deserve it. The biggest area for concern, for me, is the many many students who need SpEd / ESL services and aren't getting them. Our admin "faked" some services for a while, until they thought they were going to get caught, but we have students that I and other teachers reccomended LAST September for testing that have STILL not been tested! It's crazy. When a boy who is CLEARLY autistic, who has no affect / emotions, and little speech, sits in your class day after day, YEAR after year, without any help, it's enough to make you physically ill...

It's not ALL bad here. The students are great, for the most part! :) There are some great teachers that I love. A few that are absolutely WORTHLESS! (I mean, literally. A couple will erase another teacher's name from the board, write their own name down, have their students copy the OTHER teacher's notes, and sit and chill for an hour). The administration is pretty clueless. I know they try...one of our two APs would probably be great working somewhere else. There is NO discipline in our school. Kids lie, cheat, steal (expensive electronics), and fight / riot, with little to no reprisal. And the worst part is, they KNOW they can get away with it. Our principal HATES anything "offical" being reported and pitches a fit whenever the police want to make offical reports when a student has assaulted them. Bleh.

I've personally filed paperwork against a student that was threatening other students and ME, but had it swept under the rug time and again. It's only a matter of time before...

I don't know how much longer I can / want to teach here...but in this economy, it isn't the best time to be looking for a job. Although, if Bloomberg get's his way, I'll probably be out of here anyway, since I'm a "new" teacher. That really sucks, because I love my job, and am pretty damned good at it. It's a little daunting to think of switching schools, too, because this is all I've ever known, and for the most part, day to day, I can make it through and do my job well, because the admin is so clueless they might tell you to do / change something, but they NEVER follow up on it, so I'm pretty free to do what I want. :) Also, I've heard that a lot of NYC schools are just as bad as this, or worse, so I could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire... :(

Don't have much contact with Teach For America this second year, other than meeting with my Program Director, who is pretty darned cool. I'm not crazy about how much email I've been getting about "going corporate"...makes me upset to think how many other teachers might've stayed in the classroom were TFA not dangling these "opportunities" under our noses ad infinitum. That's one thing Teaching Fellows has over TFA (imo): a genuine interest in recruiting people who will probably stay in the classroom for a while.

Anyway, I promise to *try* to update more, now that I've got a handle on things in the "trenches." I still love my job, LOVE my kids, and know I'm doing what I'm meant to do.

Mar 12, 2008

Hey All...Still Alive.


It's March, the alleged "worst month for teachers" (due to the lack of significant holidays), but I'm still plugging along. I just started a great, exciting persuasive writing unit with my 11th graders today, and a fiction unit with my 9th graders that I'm much more excited about than they are! I love my job, still, which is a relief, but I didn't really expect any less.

I hope everyone is doing well, also. Maybe one day I'll be able to update more. I'm still learning how to have a life and a career in education at the same time, so if anyone has 'perfected' it, let me know!

~Ms. X

Oct 13, 2007

Thank God It's Friday!


Sorry it's been so long...I guess that's what all first year teachers say, though. The year has been wonderful, interesting, intense, and exhausting so far. I love my kids, but not necessarily my school. Maybe if they had ANY kind of discipline plan or enforced rules it would be better, but that's a story for a different day. I'm teaching Reading, AND special-ed Living Environment, AND...math!!! UGH! I hate math.

...but I love my kids (students) so it's all worth it. I have a writing club on fridays with them too, which is fun but chaotic so far.

...more later (hopefully). Hope everyone else's year is going well.


Jul 26, 2007

Still Alive

Hey guys,

Thanks for the comments in the last few weeks...they've definitely helped. I know some of you have been asking / wishing that I would write more about this Teach For America bootcamp experience, but I'm honestly just too mentally exhausted right now. Next week is our last week (thank god!) and I'll be getting a week off before Orientation starts; so I promise more blogs (and more details) will be forthcoming shortly. Thanks for the patience...this training thing is the craziest, busiest thing ever, and patience is definitely needed for all in my life right now! :)


Jul 12, 2007

From the depths of hell...aka: TFA institute

So if this makes sense, it'll be a miracle, as I've gotten about 6 hours of sleep all week (not 6 each night). This shit is crazy...I've made it to the half way point, though (thank god), so I just gotta grin that cult-ish grin and bare it for 3 more weeks. I am learning a lot of great things...hopefully i'll have the time to go back and re-learn this stuff later, as we're all so tired right now that it's hard to internalize anything. The actual teaching is the best part, even on the bad days, b/c it's what I joined for...but MAN are the hours crazy. Ugh. Ok. Sorry not very detailed or in depth, but i'm too tired and am gonna try to hit they hay before midnight for the first time in forever.


Apr 27, 2007

I'm now officially a TFA member...

Well, after days of soul searching and endless research, I pulled the trigger: I joined the ranks of the thousands of TFAers before me, hoping to make a difference. NYCTF is a wonderful program, and I feel blessed to have been accepted to both, but TFA just came out on top in a few key categories. I will start "teacher boot camp" on June 24th. Before then, I have to squeeze in lots of pre-boot camp required reading, classroom observations, studying for the LAST and CST exams, taking said exams, flying home for a visit, going away to a much needed retreat into the mountains with my sweetie, and trying not to hyperventilate. Wish me luck!

Apr 24, 2007

I made it into NYC Teaching Fellows!

So yesterday, after posting that I made it into Teach for America, I am happy to report today that I was accepted into NYC Teaching Fellows. They also gave me everything I wanted: secondary-level English in NYC (obviously). Now I have to make a decision between two great programs, both of which have a lot of pros and a few cons, and accept one of the offers by May 4th. I really want to make my decision before that, though, so that I can begin the lengthy process of registering and studying for exams, pre-boot camp prep work, etc.

Anyone with info on BOTH of these programs that would like to offer advice to help me make this huge decision...you would be GREATLY appreciated!! Thanks so much. I'll let you all know as soon as I decide. I think (hope) it'll be like Frost's "Road Not Taken" in the end...the decision I make will be the right one for me...I just have to make it, first!