Mar 17, 2010

A Purposed Endeavor

I remember the very first day I sat in a room full of teachers. I was with my fellow first year OTF mates, and we were sitting through speech after speech while enjoying fine refreshments in one of Oakland's historic buildings downtown. It was a proper send off to our summer "now it's time to teach you how to teach in 6 weeks" boot camp.

In one speech: "I enjoy being a teacher because my life's become simple. Each day I know what I want from my kids. Each year I know what I'd like us to accomplish. And in this profession, I know my ultimate goal."

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I'm fresh off a meeting w/ my entire staff - a room full of teachers. We come together to discuss the progress of our school and a plan for it's future. The entire 100 was sectioned off into 5 groups and I was put in charge of one. And though the agenda was dropped on me so late, I did my best to encourage fruitful discussion between those teachers in my group. Push-back from the veteran's is expected by now when I'm put into these types of situations, but fruitful discussion was still had.

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I share the same sentiment: I feel purpose in this profession. And when I feel purpose, things become simple. The powers that drives great teaching are multi-faceted and the lives that drive my students are even more so - complexities upon complexities. But I do know my ultimate goal and this is a goal I am invested in.

I want my students to succeed. All of them. I want this school to improve. I want this district to improve. I want all these kids to get the education they deserve. All that mumbo jumbo about closing the achievement gap is mumbo jumbo I dedicate myself to.

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Thus, what I felt so strongly only a month or so ago feels difficult to do. Jumping ship to another district. Uprooting myself to a new place because, really, I'm too young to be here too long.

A part of me wants to stay and see this purpose through. Teaching, you've got a hold on me.

Mar 12, 2010

Happy Hour

Once upon a time ago, I was told in a faculty meeting that, I couldn't just recommend to my students to come to tutoring; I had to make them. But what about when 50% of your students need tutoring. Here I am at 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon finishing up my prep because three of my students needed tutoring. And one of them, who was on a self-sabotaging wild streak the first semester really needed the help. I just didn't have the heart to turn her away. She is finally starting to turn around academically and behaviorally. How could I squash her efforts by refusing to help, when I "made" her do the all the conferences and "made" her share accountability for her education.

This tutoring thing really has my wheels spinning. The most qualified person to tutor is the classroom teacher that knows how his/her assignments should be completed to affect learning. The least likely person to tutor after school is the worn out classroom teacher that doesn't want to stay after school to accommodate all their students after they spent so much time prepping the lesson in the first place.

I know my tutoring efforts have really helped several of my students develop into more organized self-directed learners. This is why I keep doing it. I just wish there were 10 more hours in the day, so I could get enough sleep, get my prep done, and still have a life.

Mar 4, 2010

March Today

Let's march for education today. There's no need to explain why this is so important--we all understand. Please don't flake. Enough is enough! I'll be at Civic Center in San Francisco at 5:00 pm.

Mr. G, please don't censor this post.