Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tell Me You Love Me...

Yes, it happened.

On Wednesday, 3/4 of the way through class my students stopped working. They put their pencils down and refused to work. They said, "Mr. Wright, we're not working any more until you tell us you love us."

As much I wanted to keep my love a secret, my students needed to hear it... about time. I calmy stated "I love you all, every single one of you. That's why I expect a lot from you."

Their response... "Yes you do... okay we'll work now" :)

I never thought I'd love these students so much. They are the class that ran me up a wall at first. I had them for homeroom and 1st period every day. They cried in my class, they yelled in my class and they got sent out of my classroom. They've given me so much trouble that I thought some of my students really had no interest in learning.

They've proven me (right) wrong. They really do want to learn. I knew they could learn, but I questioned their intent... and they have blown me out of the water. My student that always put his head down, told me he was leaving to go back to another school and always talked about his nation (gang)... he is my pride now.

Every day, my most difficult student comes in EXCITED to learn... I used to want to yell at him to keep his head up... now I can't get him to shut his mouth (because he's yelling out answers)... Equally as annoying, but I'll settle for the positive.

I willingly told my 2nd period class that I love them because they too deserve to hear it. They've shown me what they're capable of and how willing they are to do the work that I give them and they show pride in their work.

I still have a lot of work to do in my 3rd block, but we're working on it. They have gotten gypped a lot due to shortened classes and it being lunch period. I don't take that as an excuse, but we need to work together before I will be able to openly love them and share in the pride of our work.

I'm proud of my students and what they are doing. We have our days of boredom and excitement. We have our days of tension and relaxation... Ultimately, we're working toward a common goal of success...

I think it's time to show them what they are working for... show them what success can look like. I look forward to decorating my classroom with college banners... And I don't want them from local schools. I want my kids to travel the country and world. My alma mater will be representing on our walls.

Maybe I'll make it an extra-credit project. Choose one person that is your role model, research their life. List their strengths and where they have been challenged. What have they overcome to become successful and how did they work hard to get where they are. What have their rewards been?

I'm out for the night. Teaching is hard, but it gives me

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Raise your glass to a good week.

Sometimes it might be hard to look at the week ahead and be excited.

There are a lot of unknowns that drag us down. If the garbage man doesn't pick up my trash tomorrow my yard will smell; the mailman isn't giving my mail; my computer is acting funny... Who knows what it is that might come up.

The one thing we can do to prevent our anxieties when these things occur is to have a positive outlook. We all have hard days, but there is no need to have a depressed day.

As my Manager of Teacher Learning Development said to me, "When you start looking at what you did as a failure, you lose the ability to look at what happened critically and make the changes needed."

We have to look forward to our days this week and every week and then, when something does go wrong, look at what happened and why. Don't blame it on yourself as a 'failure', but look at it as a learning moment - that didn't work, so try something new.

I'm looking forward to this week. My students have a lot coming at them. There is another test this week that they need to be ready for, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure they get there.

This means that there is a lot of learning that has to happen in only 3 days, but we can do it and we will do it. I just have to remind them that we have our eyes set on success.

Tomorrow will be a strong day because the changes we make in the classroom every day as teachers increases the chances for our students to learn.

Super. Excited. Super. Positive.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

How are YOU, as a person?

Sounds like a simple question... "How are you, as a person?"

But, I think we often times forget that we are real people. We aren't little robots, going about the same business every day.

Think about it. Your job is not who you are but what you do. You are the person that smiles and laughs at a stupid joke. You are the person that gets enjoyment from the brisk breeze in the morning as you walk to your car. You are a realperson. Who wudda thunk it.

One of my goals since the beginning of Teach For America has been to not lose myself. For some reason I always envisioned those whom join TFA as real people turned soulless teachers that don't feel enjoyment anymore.

Now, that might be a little extreme dramatization of what is true, but that's what I thought... just being honest.

What I have come to realize is that teaching for the first time does turn recent college graduates or worldy and wise elders into emotionless or overly emotional beings. They lose part of themselves.

A month and a half in to my teaching, I don't feel like I've lost myself. Thank God. I can't say that for anyone but myself though -- and that bothers me.

What I want to see are the first years going to school, working their butts off. But once they leave that school they are no longer, Mr/Mrs. Whomever -- instead, they are themselves... a real person.

I may seem like I'm rambling, but if you thought about it, you'd understand what I mean. Leaving your working self at work, at the doors, and turning into who you want to be beyond the workplace.

It's not easy, but you have to try and tell yourself you're two different people.

Ultimately though, it has been a huge piece of sanity in an insane classroom.

I just want more people to ask themselves... "How am I doing as a person?"

I asked that of a fellow corps member today who responded, "I don't know. And... I think that's because I don't feel like myself." She then thanked me for asking because she realized she needs to pay attention to that aspect of her life... the reality of it all.

Take care of yourself and make sure you stay sane beyond the insanity.