Category Archives: expectations

Freedom Writers

So, I have to admit…when I went to Long Beach on Friday morning, I was skeptical. I didn’t know what to think. I’ve seen the Freedom Writers movie. I’ve read the Freedom Writers Diary. Both were touching. Both were almost too incredible to believe, but after teaching a few years in an urban setting (though my city is not a BIG city, it’s still a city and I’m at an “urban” school), I knew that those types of occurrences or situations can happen.

I never expected to be affected like I was. I cried, a lot. Some of it was in response to hearing from actual Freedom Writers. Some of it was in reaction to stories and situations that struck too close to home.

Erin Gruwell is THE MOST POSITIVE/UPBEAT person I’ve ever met in my life. My friend Susanna from high school is a close second. She is so committed to what the Freedom Writers Institute is doing and their methods. I want so badly to be able to have some of that positivity.

I wish that I would have written this post 2 weeks ago, or whenever it was that I just returned from CA. I feel as if I’ve forgotten so much. Plus…there’s only so much that I can say. As part of my training, there are many things that I have to keep confidential. But…I have more ideas on how to teach and how to reach my students.

Let’s hope the $25 I spent on notebooks (230 of them!) will pay off…I have a lot to do this week. (We start with kids on the 16th).



Filed under beginnings, books, expectations, instruction, planning, writing

End of Year Three

Well I finished my third year of teaching yesterday. In some ways it seems a bit surreal. There are a number of reasons for this:

1) I woke up in a panic at 6:18 this morning, thinking “crap! I slept through my alarm again!”, only to remember it was Saturday.

2) My 4th block class, which was my worst class of this quarter (but not for this year)…many of them wanted to give me hugs yesterday at the end of class. It was odd. But, sweet at the same time.

3) I wasn’t feeling like I’d gotten through very much with my students this quarter — till I made their final and prepped for their speech. We’ve read a lot. However, I’m not sure we were very in depth with it.

4) I survived this year. Like many of my coworkers at my school, and many fellow teachers in the blogosphere, this was a TOUGH year. 2009-2010 is something we can say we made it through. One of my coworkers who teaches freshmen brought something to attention (to a few of us in the English dept) this week. This year’s freshmen were first graders when No Child Left Behind was rolled out. This year’s freshmen were assholes (sorry for the language) to many of their teachers — a sense of entitlement, of “you can’t make me do anything”, of “so-what” regarding consequences was VERY present in this grade at our school. Is it a coincidence that NCLB has shaped their entire education? I think not.

5) I bit off WAY more than I could reasonably chew this year. Besides just teaching (which was under a new curriculum, of sorts) I started grad school (online, thank god — it was wonderful doing homework in my pjs), I was involved in a multi-school effort to get kids discussing social justice, I did after school credit recovery…and that was too much. If I had to choose again I would probably have axed or said no to the multi-school project. It was fun, but I don’t feel I gave it enough attention and that was to the detriment of many.

last but not least

6) I DID receive my contract, and tenure, for next year. For those of you have read me this year, I started getting really nervous about whether or not my school was going to keep me on next year. I haven’t been 100% happy, but part of that is that I still am questioning my effectiveness as a teacher. Part of it has to do with my classroom management skills, but…either way, I need a job. Now, I have one, guaranteed until I decide to find one somewhere else. And, I might look next year. I might not. We’re getting a new principal next year, and she might make enough changes (hall sweeps, jeans every Friday, etc) that my school might become the perfect place for me. I just have this feeling that these kids (from my city’s version of the inner city/urban) need me. All students need great teachers, but…you guys know what I mean…

Now, if only I knew what classes I was teaching next year. Yup…we’re told we probably won’t learn till late July. Can we say STRESS?!


Filed under expectations, gratitude, work

Upcoming movie

Not sure what to think about this film quite yet. It looks interesting, but I don’t want it to be something that slams everyone and everything in education. There are real problems out there and the blame doesn’t just belong on one set of shoulders.

So…go see the trailer. And tell me what you think.

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Filed under etc, expectations, students, teaching, Uncategorized, work

Spring Break

Is it bad that on this day before spring break that my one class is not doing much of anything? We finished up our class novel today (we read after lunch). So, today (right now, actually) they’re working on their first project for the book (there are 3 total & the other 2 are due after we come back from break). We’ll take a quiz when we get back, and also start grammar review. This is my credit recovery class, so I don’t have them do nearly as much as I require from my regular juniors.
I feel like such a SLACKER right now (as a teacher). *sigh*

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Filed under expectations, students