Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Woah buddy. Day 1.

My reaction from the first day of teaching has changed a lot since I first finished. I was really stunned that I managed to get and pretty much maintain control of the classroom (and, thank Gd the principal and assistant principal also witnessed this). Probably, they were just trying to behave on day 1 and I'm sure there's a lot more yet to be thrown my way in terms of behavior, but it was a welcome relief. My first-day-on-the-job nightmares (literal nightmares) were definitely a lot worse than what my girls threw my way.

So my goals were:
Establish authority
Maintain order
Learn as many names as possible

And according to those goals, I did pretty well. I know almost all their names at this point. I was pleasantly surprised how naturally the discipline part came to me. I was unpleasantly surprised how much more difficult the TEACHING part was! Concepts I thought I had studied to death and drilled into my brain disappeared into thin air once my explanations were questioned. Oyvayvoy. I'm trying to give myself a bit of a break, seeing that I'm coming in not just mid-year, but in some cases mid-CHAPTER! Next year (if I make it there!) will, I think, be much easier on the educational front.

New goals for today? (Not sure this is a good idea.)
Get the last of their names down
Start to establish routine
Do a better job teaching the ideas
And a lot of out-of-classroom stuff: talk to other teachers about resources, curriculum, and worksheets.

Oh, and what's the biggest difference between my just-out-of-the-classroom-I-can't-believe-I'm-alive high and what started a few hours later?

I am exhausted.
Beyond exhausted.
Everything hurts.

When they said in theater school that to star in a Broadway production, an actor's body had to be up to the level of a marathon runner's... that was for sure serious. And I am for sure not up to snuff on the physical front.

So the final goal of today:
Conserve energy wherever possible!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Big changes!

New season, new year, new job.

For those of you more in the loop, this might be something of a surprising transition. Yes, I did just start a job right after Sukkos. Yes, I was doing something I believed in and I loved my coworkers.

But, in short, my job was not working out. The hours and commute were just too much for Omri and me, who felt like we were never seeing eachother and I hate hate hated sitting in front of a computer all day (she writes, typing on her computer on her day off). For the first time in my life, I had lower back pain that I couldn't blame on a fancy night out in 4" heels. A cubicle is not a good excuse for lower back pain. My shoulder-Whitney was shaking her head at me.

We decided it was time for me to start looking elsewhere and I wound up re-connecting with the principal of our local private girls' middle school (by local, I mean two blocks away). She *just so happened* (thanks Hashem) to need a teacher... immediately.

Which means tomorrow afternoon I will be beginning my stint (or career, stay tuned to find out!) as a 5th grade teacher. Forget a summer of intensive TFA training or two years working towards a master's. Nope, initiation by fire seems to be the plan.

Thank Gd I happen to have a lot of friends who are or were teachers. From upper-middle private to religious Jewish to inner-city, I've gotten a range of perspectives and a lot of repeated and reinforced advice. You can bet you'll be getting more calls from me.

Despite the utter terror everyone says I ought to be experiencing, I'm stoked. I am excited to be around 10 year olds, who are smart and funny but still act like kids. I'm excited to be back in a school environment, to feel the buzzing energy encased in a consistant schedule. I'm excited to have the autonomy of working with my own class, deciding how to present material, what projects to work on, what science experiments and art projects. I'm excited to be spending half my day preparing in my living room and only 4 hours a day in the classroom.

I'm not so thrilled about two weeks of being a drill seargant, but I've done it before and I can do it again. And after those two weeks, Gd willing it'll be really fun.

Ok, so back to dividing my multiples of 10, reading up on 5th grade literature and deciding whether the science project will be a poster or diorama....

Wish me luck!

TED du jour (courtesy of Full Color Living): Bill Gates on the work being done in his philanthropy. The first 8 minutes he discusses Malaria, then he speaks beautifully on America's educational system.


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