Mirrors into Windows

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 22 2011

“How do you spell education?”

My. First. Day.

I guess I should start off with an e-apology for missing several weeks of posting! In my defense I just got my internet service up and running, and I moved, and started a new job, and have been getting lost in Miami, and planning for class, and decorating my room…

But it’s all finally come together. I teach 5th grade reading, writing, and social studies, and met my kids today – the class of 2023, I want to call them. (That date sounds so futuristic; it’s when they should graduate from college.) It was a good day. The whole school focused on procedures and rules today so we can get off with a strong start in the management department. I have two classes but was with my homeroom for most of the day. The kids were on their first-day-of-school behavior, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a good guess of who my troublemakers will be!

There wasn’t much real instruction between the paperwork and the school rules, but we talked about malleable intelligence (“Did you know? You can grow your brain like a muscle!!”) and how reading is thinking. We read a back to school poem and “Dream Dust” by Langston Hughes… we’ll be talking about dreams throughout the year, and how we can work toward them, so this was a nice little intro.

I don’t know my kids’ academic levels beyond their test scores from last year’s standardized tests (which are pretty telling in themselves), but there were a couple of heartbreaking moments from the beginning of the day: One student was writing his birthday on a survey that I gave them and asked me to spell ‘September’ for him. Another asked me how to spell ‘education’ and it was like one of those ridiculously transparent, symbolic moments in movies. This week we’ll get real diagnostic data on the students’ reading and phonics levels so that get right to work toward our goals.

It was a good day. I regretted wearing heels but might wear them tomorrow anyway. I need to plan for tomorrow and write their names out on clothespins (behavior tracker) popsicle sticks (cold calling) file folders (parent contact info) and starry name plates (assigned seats).

179 days sounds like a horrifyingly large expanse of time, but also somehow seems like such a short amount of time left to get our work done.

Back to it…

5 Responses

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