Learning As Leadership

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 16 2010


Everything just keeps moving. I’m moving, too, but at a different speed than life these days.

All I’ve wanted for about two months is to be caught up. That’s all. Just to be caught up. Not ahead. I’ve already realized that, as a teacher, I will never again in my life be ahead in anything.

The worst part of being behind right now is that the things on my To Do list would actually help my days be better and, ultimately, to help meĀ get caught up. And yet the day to day crap is bogging me down and preventing me from doing the things on my To Do list. Does that make sense? Not sure. It’s Monday at 8:01 PM. Very little energy available.

Basically what I mean is the Good ‘Ol Tools. Yup. That’s what Teach For America calls them. Things like, ya know, having a Unit Plan for the unit you are currently teaching. These “tools” are totally necessary, and yet I feel like I’m never planned far enough in advance, and I still find myself doing my lesson planning day-to-day. It’s an awful feeling.

And ya know the other important tool? Not even important. Essential. The essential tool is the tracker, which allows you to collect, track, and analyze data. Ohhhhh, my tracker. Not even close to being caught up.

And I was poised, ready to get caught up, with a 4 day weekend looming. And then, suddenly, as happens too often in the schools in which we serve, a huge change occurred. Suddenly, of my 90 students, about 45 were pulled out of my class, and 45 new students arrived. It was a huge blow. I’ve now been frantically trying to catch up the new students while preventing the old students from revolting against me.

So, basically, I just want to say that I won’t be winning any Teacher of the Year awards this year. But I haven’t given up yet on helping my students achieve everything they are capable of achieving. I have a plan for the next few weeks, and I can and will do this. I’m prioritizing what is most important for student learning, and I’m learning important lessons in how to be more efficient as a teacher so that keeping tools up-to-date is not an impossible challenge.

And, unfortunatley, I’m finding that in public education, extreme and unforseen change is to be expected, and sometimes we waste massive amounts of time on trivial things that The Man deems important, when in reality we should be spending time on the tools and tracking that would lead to real and meaningful change.

One Response

  1. Wess

    This is EXACTLY how I feel. If there were only time to do the things you know you need to do, your days would be more bearable and there would be more time to do more of the things you know you need to do. : P

    A big part of this new-teacher condition has to be caused simply by not knowing exactly what is really required of you before you start, and then never having a chance to get caught up on those things once you do know.

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a Teach For America teacher’s blog

St. Louis
Middle School

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