Facing La Frontera

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 31 2011

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly



Classes today were awesome. We did a lesson I did around October last year, where we have a “memorial” for some deceased words. This year, I told the students it was….actually their fault. They overused these words, and as of today, they were dead. We had a mini-lesson on using the thesaurus and dictionary (where even my A students asked me what the difference was), and then they used synonyms to personify the words that we will no longer use in class. Super fun, kids love it, and it’s just good.

They serve breakfasts in homeroom now to encourage kids eating. The first couple of days didn’t have much success, so I started advertising it as a class teamwork exercise, that we had to beat the math teacher’s room. She wasn’t having much success either, so one day I sauntered in and informed them we had 15 eat breakfast. This morning, we had 20, thanks to their peer pressure, and then right before I was starting class, I got a call from the math teacher, where her kids screamed out they had 22 eat breakfast, which tied with us, which my kids screamed back at them. It’s little silly things like that that I love about this school.


Several minor behavior issues today. One teacher had one of our students actually run away from her and hide in the elementary school bathroom. And so it begins, right? I had to call one mom for a defiant kid, and then I had one kid shoot a spitwad in my class, so I had him go in the hall and call his mom on the spot. Both parents receptive, but it’s just the 2nd week of school. Please don’t let this start already.


I was FURIOUS tonight when I grade their homework. I had put 2 nights of homework on the same sheet, and I got it in today. However, I quickly realized about 30 students didn’t do it correctly. The direction CLEARLY stated I wanted three words per answer, and most only put two or one. I’m giving them all detention, which also means some are getting kicked off the football team. I’m just furious that they would turn in such crap when it was a short assignment and it was clearly explained through directions and an example. Luckily, the math teacher feels the same way, so we’re both going to have talks tomorrow about our expectations for homework.

I couldn’t even read one kid’s responses, so he will be redoing his tomorrow with me during lunch until I can read his writing. And I told 2 they were on probation with handwriting. They’re not pulling that crap again this year where I struggle to read it. We’ll fix it this month, and they’ll give me all their free time until their handwriting doesn’t look like a 2nd grader.

In an effort to not be totally negative, any student who got a 100 on the assignment (which also meant they used their full heading b/c about 10 didn’t have names and at least another 30 didn’t have full headings), those students will get rewards tomorrow.

But geez, when I think about how far my kids need to go, they HAVE to put in that home time. And if they don’t, we won’t make the progress we need. ugh ugh ugh.

I modified my lesson tomorrow to hopefully have time for a brief discussion, starting with quotes and ending with them hopefully saying they’ll give 100%. Espero que si.

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