Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 15 2011

I am not good at reviewing.

My students have a TLI test this Thursday, moved from Wednesday because we had four and a half snow days, and one added day is going to help them be excellent.

I feel like I’m failing my kids, still. I know what kinds of questions will be on the test. I know which ones they “should” know and which ones I ignored because I, their subjective teacher, deemed them invaluable. Am I helping them or hurting them by skipping a state standard I don’t believe in? A standard I’ve attempted to teach but see as totally worthless so gave up on?  (The standard is about choosing the most effective closing sentence, when arguably three of the four sentences could be acceptable.)

I went to the 20th anniversary summit over the weekend, where we got pumped up with success stories, information about education reform (and how impossible it is), saw some superstars in education leadership speak on panels, and networked with 11,000 people involved in education. This should be inspiring. Why do I feel sick this morning?

Going back to school yesterday was difficult, but seeing my kids made my anxiety disappear. It’s fitting or ironic that the thing that causes me so much anxiety and stress (my kids) is also the one thing that can take it away. At least this morning I realized that my stress and anxiety are clearly linked to things I do and do not know. For example, today I am reviewing for this test. I don’t know how to review with my kids in a way that is engaging and genuinely re-teaches skills they didn’t pick up on the first time around. For me, reviewing is more like “here is a piece of paper with problems very similar to those you’ll see on the test. I’m not reteaching anything, just setting it in front of you again, so you can be confused again, good luck!”

At least I can recognize my problems now.

I’m nervous for this next unit because I don’t know how to teach or plan for it. I am also supposed to go to Atlanta this weekend with friends, something I really want to do but feel unprepared for. I was just in DC, should I be leaving on another weekender trip to come back exhausted and unprepared? Not sure.

Almost met a fellow blogger! Spent a good deal of time during the summit searching for “Teach For Us” in the program and prancing around the convention center in search of the booth, but to no avail. Never found em. Oh well. At least it’s an organization existing in the internet world.

Today will be a successful day.

2 Responses

  1. Wess

    I also missed Teach For Us–I forgot shirts were happening Friday night, not Saturday, and by the time I happened to run into Adam I was too late.

    I can’t figure out how to blog about the summit. I still feel brain-fried, like I can’t sift through my thoughts quite right. I feel the weirdest combination of inspired and uncomfortable and dazed. Though that feeling may also be because I haven’t exactly slept. Aye.

    So happy to have almost-met you!

  2. I think it’s great that you made an executive decision to ignore one type of question. It’s what incorporating one’s own understanding of the real world usefulness of skills. On the other hand, it would be fun for me to teach concluding sentences. Those are some of the most fun sentences to write. Forgive me for boasting – I’m pretty good at them.

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