Saturday, October 28, 2006

Why I Never Quit Teaching...

I did think about quitting last year, but not until the last month or so of school. I had seen a lot of violence in the school, and the administration did not respond the way they should have. I just about lost it near the end, and I called Ben while I was hysterical a couple of times. I think I stayed because I already had a job lined up in Jackson for the next school year, and I just needed to make it through a few more weeks of school. Plus, I think it set a good example for my students. They knew it was very difficult for me near the end of school, but I stuck it out. At the same time, I left the district after the school year ended. But I made it clear to the students that I was not leaving because of them. My students were awesome. I never thought about quitting MTC, I just really did not want to be at my crazy school.

I also didn’t quit because I have the greatest friends in the program. I just spent the day pumpkin carving in Yazoo, and it was one of the greatest days of my life. I’ll probably never have the opportunity to have such great friends again, and I’m sad that my two years is coming to an end. I think I’ve had the best and worst times of my life while in MTC. Speaking of which, what on earth are we going to do next year???

First Nine Weeks Evaluation

I'm so happy to have an understanding administration this year. I just had my "Why did so many students fail your class?" meeting with my assitant principal. I failed 62.5% of my students, even though I had made the rule never to fail more than one-third of my students. I had to break my rule because the students were not where they should be, and I couldn't justify giving those students passing grades. (Thankfully, the other Algebra teachers either failed just as many students as I did, or they passed just about all their students even though we only had 45% pass the nine weeks test. At least my grades were reflective of their nine weeks test scores.)

My assistant principal actually took the time for me to show him, student by student, that they were not putting forth the effort neccessary for Algebra I. About 10% of my students received zeros for the course because they missed too many days of class. Not only that, I have students that never passed Pre-Algebra that were stuck in my class. At least my grades were reflective of their scores on the nine weeks test.

My assistant principal then came to observe my class with the highest failing average. He wrote a wonderful evaluation, claiming that all students were involved and that he saw "excellent teaching and learning." He seems so supportive of me, and recognizes that I'm doing all that I can for my students. The students are just very under-prepared for this course, and not motivated enough to complete assignments and study outside of the classroom. Hopefully, that will change now that they have failed the first nine weeks.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

How I've Changed

I'm always thinking about this question, "How have I changed since I've been here?" The biggest thing is that I know more about myself, which is what our second years told us would happen, and yet I am still surprised by how much I've learned about myself. Not only am I more aware about myself, I'm also more aware about other people, and I think I appreciate the ways that people are different. Adryon and I were just talking today about the weird quirks we all have, but that's just a part of who we are. We've become very comfortable with ourselves and with each other. Part of that must come from growing up, but I also learned a lot about watching my students. My students last year had so much personality and confidence. I never felt like they were trying to be something that they weren't. They were just themselves.