Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 05 2013

The Sum of Parts

For the first time today my voice was shrill as I walked my second class back to my room from the library. I had already removed talking students and consolidated them as a first warning, but they would not let up. Eventually I told a student he had a D-Hall. It’s the first negative consequence I’ve given all year.

I’ve been thinking about it since. I don’t think it was warranted because it doesn’t follow my typical consequence system, and it seems too severe for the offense. Simultaneously, there is this little tug deep inside of me that makes me think students need to understand how to respond to tone of voice, non-verbals, and other peoples’ emotions. If a teacher is upset, a natural response should be to please the teacher. I’m curious if this is utterly ridiculous. Is this a background experience thing? Is it unreasonable or strange to expect that from students?

I can’t decide what is more ridiculous: thinking it might be ridiculous, or the thing itself.

This is the middle of the third week, and that was my first negative consequence. In general, with my knuckles rapping on every piece of wood nearby, this year is promising. My students are phenomenal. My working environment is significantly more positive and enjoyable. I have friends in the workplace! I’ve always always loved my sixth team, but with my new team teacher, a new friendship with a para-pro, and a new tech guy near our age… there’s a completely different vibe.

Example: Today after duty, I came back to my dark room to plan for next week. When I came in, the tech guy was setting up my new computer, and my para-pro and team teacher friends were sitting at my table, just hanging out. After yelling at them for breaking and entering, I was thoroughly amused that I had such a warm welcome back into my room! We spent a good 20 minutes giggling and poking fun at each other.

It makes me want to stay for a long while.

Two weekends ago I drove up to Fayetteville to interview at the University of Arkansas. The Arkansas Teacher Corps already hired me as their Director of Professional Development over the summer, but this interview was to also tack on the Director of Institute role. On Monday one of my faculty advisers called to officially give congratulate me on getting the job.

This brings my official commitment-count for the 2013-14 school year to the following:

  • Teaching sixth grade language, reading, and social studies
  • Pathwise mentoring my team teacher (stipend, expected 4 hrs/wk)
  • Graduate school (full credit load with internship)
  • ATC Dir of PD
  • ATC Dir of Institute
  • Marathon training (for the Mississippi River run in February)

My life is full. It is happy.

While I’m not great at time management, I am learning serious prioritization. I’ve had to overlook a few Dumas Family events already, which I’m nervous will catch up with me for the worst but right now I’m proud of saying no to. I’ve learned that in the morning I do better if I can check off a tiny to-do item immediately before jumping into heavier work, and I’ve learned that I love 6am runs.

Light, laughter, love.

One Response

  1. Cait

    Yeah 6am runs!! Lovin’ you!

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