If you're not a student or teacher, this time of year might mean extra muggy and hot days and the hope of cooler weather in a month or so. It might mean another month for beach vacations and swim parties and grilling outside. But if you're a student or teacher around here, early August has come … Continue reading Just what does a new school year mean for teachers?
The everyday stress of teaching students in the throes of beginning adolescence adds up over a while. AND The everyday stress of living in poverty (which was about 90 percent of my students) adds up over a while. Put those two situations together . . . and you get a classroom full of students - … Continue reading Stress x Stress = Survival mode : My Middle School Experiment, What I Learned, Part 4
That is one of the most difficult and trying challenges of teaching in a high poverty school. Dealing with the disrespect you so often encounter.
As I said in earlier posts, I'm sure I learned more during my semester of teaching middle school than my students did. And a lot - probably most - of what I learned was about myself. In this post, I'll share one of the "good" things I learned. I learned that I am a great deal more … Continue reading My Middle School Experiment: What I Learned, Part 2. Less ego, more patience.
Two comments to me at school this past week have stuck with me. Both were from 6th grade students. The first occurred while three of my students were working on their project for the end of the year. They were talking, and one said he had signed up for careers (the class I teach) next … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 17: “Because we’re bad”
The main feeling I've had through these 16 weeks of teaching middle school is exhaustion. Being in the classroom every weekday makes me tired. Tired, tired, tired. And more tired. That's what I felt at the end of my high school teaching career 8 years ago. And it's what I feel now. If you've never taught … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 16: What I find most wearing and wearying
We're down to 15 classroom days before school is out for the summer. Then my time in middle school will be over. I began this middle school teaching journey as an experiment. An experiment with these questions: What are middle school kids like? What are the challenges of a high-poverty school in this decade? How do … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 15: My decision
Imagine that this, above, is your setting for 5 days - from 8:10 until about noon each day. Except that the words on the window - taken down. Any interesting posters - taken down. Bare concrete block walls, tile floors, fluorescent light, and silence surround you. In the 3 to 4 hours you are testing, … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 13: The reality of high-stakes TESTING
The week before spring break stretches on for much longer than five work days. Or at least it feels longer! I was just sure that Wednesday was Thursday. My body, mind, and spirit felt Thursday. But the calendar said "Wednesday." And on Thursday I had several students who are usually calm and corporative be a bit … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 12: Dreading Spring Break?
I knew this time was coming. I didn't know how long it would take. But it has arrived. The time when I know my students well enough that I start seeing or sensing their stories. Their challenges. Their deep pain. Communities in which poverty trickles down and settles carry the pains of our society. My … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Weeks 10 & 11: Sadness & Grace