Middle School Hero

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 05 2012

“I determine the weather.”

One thing that I’ve noticed about my TFA experience thus far is that life here just moves so much faster. The weeks are really long, sure, and I’m always looking at what else I have to do before I get to sleep and it seems like so much. But at the same time, weekends come and go so fast. The weeks fly by. I’m shocked that we’re this close to Thanksgiving already. Time is really passing.

But it’s this blog, more than anything else, that shows me how fast the time is going. Life is literally happening fast than I can blog it. Five days ago, I would’ve been blogging about Fall Break. Three days ago, I would’ve written about dreading going back to school because I’ve been struggling with my placement and school. Yesterday would’ve been a post about the learned helplessness of my students and our struggles surpassing that. And now, today is something completely different.

Today was another tough day. We’re working on writing proposal essays, which means they need to identify issues that are important to them and then research those issues. It’s been rough because my students right now have zero investment. They don’t understand that it’s important to be able to articulate their opinions with factual evidence and they don’t see the necessity of becoming strong self-advocates. I’m stuck in a “leading horses to water” rut.

Of course, if I’ve learned anything from my TFA training and from the really good lessons I have delivered so far, it’s that these things are all in my hands. Yes, my students are dealing with a lot of stuff outside of the classroom and yes, there isn’t a great culture of achievement where I am right now, but it’s still all on me.

If my kids are going nuts, I don’t look at the situation and think, “Wow, they’re bouncing off the walls today.” Instead, I see where flaws in my lesson plan got them off track. I see how a weak transition allowed them time to talk or I see a moment where a failure on my part kept them from succeeding. At this point in the game, I’ve got the power to drive my students’ learning. They can succeed, but only if I put them in the right position. It’s a cool feeling, but it’s also a bit intimidating. I am the decisive element in the classroom. I determine the way things go, one way or another.

About this Blog

Chronicling teaching middle school English in OKC

High School

Subscribe to this blog (feed)