Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Story - In a "now" context

Today we have sessions. It's the start of our Orientation into our content areas. For the next three and a half days, we will be learning how to use our visions of our classroom to be great math teachers.

In our first session, we were asked to figure out our story. A story that has a strong lead character, one that has an inciting moment, and ends with a conflict that frames the story. After thinking out loud throughout the session, we've been commissioned to write a story that reflects who we are, why we are here and the context of our story in the now considering we just ended Institute.

So here it goes:

5 weeks ago, I started on a journey. This journey was new, exciting, yet nerve wrecking. I was going to become a teacher to young adults that I had never met with a group of fellow Corp Members that I had never spoken with.

Days came and went, bonds grew and waned and conversations blossomed and faded. Ultimately, I finished my 5 weeks of training and endured the 4 weeks of teaching during that time.

How did I see the world during this time? A whole load differently. For the first time, I was no longer in a predominately white suburb or city. I am now in areas that are nearly all black.

I faced teaching kids that have grown up with biases that have put them at disadvantages. These same kids were often given excuses for their low performance and passed to the next grade.

I taught day in day out, analyzing my performance in front of my students. Each one deserved my attention and each one had a difference need. I calculated my lesson plans as best as possible at the same time I decided to experiment with my kids' abilities. I taught by lecturing on Day 1, I gave guided notes and moved around the room on Day 2. By week 4 of teaching I had used games, student-led discussion and rigorous questioning to get my students to learn.

My kids led me through hoops of non-participation to over-talking. Each warranting a different reaction, but I was still learning. Facing the challenges I knew that my students would learn from me, but that they would give me so much more in return.

I now question why every student in my classroom says they will go to college. Are they going for themselves or are they going for their parents whom have forced this idea upon them? I question why my students are reacting to my lessons in certain ways and I ponder the effectiveness of the same lessons. Are they rowdy because my game is fun or because they're disinterested? Are they even learning from my notes and activities?

Ultimately, I have come to see that these are issues that everyday, as a teacher, I will question and plan for. No new day will be the same as a previous one. The brutality of reality can be hard for some to bear, but these are moments that we are given to question our own abilities and how we can master our skills.

I must use every ounce of wit, every ounce of charm and every ounce of common sense to out-run, out-smart and out-perform these students. I must use every chance of growth, every chance of acknowledging weaknesses, and every chance of using strengths to get my students to bloom and prosper.

I foresee triumphs of students learning and getting A's. I desire to see that day that my students understand that I am firm and challenging so that they can learn. I will succeed at developing my classroom in many different ways after facing challenges.

My story is that I have seen some of these challenges, I have questioned my perceptions and I have made adjustments in course of teaching. A strong lead character must be charismatic, energetic and relatable. Challenges must have an end and triumphs must live on. Each of these together, over the course of 4 weeks in teaching have taught me a lot and over the course of the year my story will change as I see more challenges that lead my to change my trajectory and work harder for my larger goals in teaching and as part of a movement toward quality education systems.

I look forward to using every resource as a means to better myself, my school, my community and my students.

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