I experienced one of the requisite TFA rites of passage last night: the INSTITUTE MELTDOWN.
I cried last night. Yup, it was a lesson planning night. Lesson plans are due twice a week here, on Tuesday & Thursday mornings, so Monday & Wednesday nights are just all sorts of stress. Annnnd Tues/Thurs are just all sorts of exhaustion.
I cried last night because I was tired and frustrated and couldn’t focus on my lesson planning.
But mostly, I cried because of my kids. They told us the kids were going to make us laugh and cry. And love teaching and hate teaching. And keep pursuing our goals and to throw our hands up in resignation. It’s been four days of teaching and I’ve already experience all of the above.
I cried because they are 15 awesome kids. And they’re smart. They are so smart, but they lack motivation, focus and ongoing encouragement.
I cried because most of them are reading on a 5th grade level. It hit me even harder when I realized that some of them have been held back in school, so some of them should be at the 8th or 9th grade level.
I cried because they are all so frustrated with learning, which is something I have always loved.
I cried especially hard… and I’m starting to cry again now… when I read their scores on their diagnostic math assessment. Our class average was an 18% and our highest score was 24%.
No one in the class knew the best unit to measure water in a bathtub (ounces, cups or gallons). No one could mark the lines of symmetry in a series of shapes. Hell, half of them couldn’ t name the shapes. I don’t know if it’s because they can’t read the questions, have poor test taking strategies or just plain don’t know the answer.
I cried because there are mountains beyond mountains in front of these kids… and I am their teacher.
Week One’s biggest challenge: adjusting to having my life scheduled for me down to 5 minute increments.
Week Two’s biggest challenge: putting faces and little people with the statistics I’ve been studying for weeks….
I don’t teach for America, I teach for the kids.
“One day, all children will have the opportunity to achieve an excellent education.” ONE DAY BEGINS TODAY.