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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 19 2009

The best teaher evner!

I hate this part of the year. I’ve gotten through 3 days and it is making me realize how lucky I was last year. I should have looped with my students from last year. I miss them dearly. I hate the monotony of going over rules, proceedures, rules, proceedures, rules, proceedures over and over until I want to rip my hair out. I’ve already lost my temper once which I swore I wouldn’t do this year. A parent called in wanting to know about her child’s academic progress (Um, on day 3 we are lucky to be doing a bathroom break correctly, forget about learning academics). She is so worried about him being held back. I guess I should be glad that she is being proactive and I promised to call her later next week when I have some data about his reading fluency and lexile. Anyway, my students were having a free for all while I was on the phone and it was, ahem, a teachable moment after that. I even had to “pretend” to be on the phone to have them practice modeling the appropriate behavior. They knew I meant business after that.

I have a student T.C. who was such a challenge yesterday, and then he didn’t bring back his behavior sheet today. His excuse was that his mother broke her hand and couldn’t sign the paper. I didn’t buy it. Since mom doesn’t have a working phone number and I instilled a deep fear into him he gave me his grannys number. I called her and couldn’t understand a word the lady said. She seems supportive, but it gave me a better understanding of his home situation. I had a heart to heart with him in the morning, turns out his dad’s in jail and last night his stepfather and mother were fighting which is why he didn’t get the behavior sheet signed. I feel like kind of an ass for being so hard on him, but I think we connected. He gave me three big hugs throughout the day and was seriously a perfect angel all day long. I have absolutely no delusions that this will last forever but now I know he is capable of excellent behavior and I will hold him to that standard.

I have a very large number of students with parents in jail this year. It’s certainly going to be something I am concious of when I talk about families.

Speaking of jail, I have this student, J.M., who I had heard horror stories about, but I am loving so much. He had an incident last year where he would touch girls butts. His mother found a man who brought him to a juvenile detention center to scare the bejeezus out of him so he would never do it again. It certainly made an impression because he talks about it all the time. The thing that is so funny about it is that this child is a very tiny 8 year old (he looks about 5 years old) and he is so happy go lucky that the thought of him being “scared straight” makes me laugh at the absurdity.

I received my first “I love you” note from a student this year. It says: “Dear Ms. D, You is the best teaher evner.” I think the testament to that statement will be if she is able to spell those words correctly by June.

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    An Elementary School Teacher in the Show Me State

    St. Louis
    Elementary School
    Elementary Education

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