I live with 3 Teach for America teachers: 2 Anthony’s and 1 Laura. One of the Anthony’s teaches high school math at the 10-12 grade campus my 9th graders feed into next year. He has the distinct pleasure of teaching in a trailer. Once the initial shock wore off of teaching in a room with 4 wheels under it, Anthony (with a little help from Laura) coined the term “oasis of learning” to describe his classroom.
As ironic, yet fitting, as this is, it does not just apply to his trailer. I am in the middle of a 2 day conference that truly is an oasis of learning. English teachers from across the state have come to Greenville to tackle the ungodly beast known as the English II SATP. As a group, we are covering every objective from every competency. Generally, these conferences aren’t helpful, but once we have gone over every objective, I’ll have a pretty clutch resource in my hands. I have actually learned something at this conference. I needed this respite. I needed this calm. I needed this.
And I just needed a break. Monday was captial A-wful. A kid in 3rd block threw a single apple at me. He or she missed their target (I’m assuming me), but managed to knock EVERYTHING off my desk except my computer. 10 minutes later, another apple was hurled my way and this time hit my leg as I was opening the door for my class because they said they were cold. They are about to find themselves on a lockdown only previously experienced on Alcatraz. On top of the apple assault, my homework averages plummetted to the the lowest they’ve ever been: 22%, 24%, and 6% for each block. Oh, and when I told my classes I wouldn’t be in school Tuesday or Wednesday, they got out of their seats and applauded…literally. My pending absence received 3 standing ovations. At the end of my lovely day, I spent almost an hour “sub proofing” my room. This meant I had to lock up anything I didn’t want stolen or broken in my closet. I left the school yesterday very late and very pissed off.
I try not to complain too much. If this was easy, everyone would do it. I knew the obstacles that I would face when I signed up for this. This isn’t a tirade about how I hate my life and how I cannot wait until my two years are over. In fact, I still love being a teacher. I still love my kiddos. They are my babies. These 89 children are practically the sole recipients of my attention. I still want to be an educator for the rest of my life. I just needed to vent.
I go back into the trenches on Thursday armed with a brand new objective, another chapter of Hole in My Life, and the same high expectations I’ve held them to since day one. We’re going to have some serious discussions about homework completion. I’m going to teach. They’re going to achieve. That’s my game plan, but hopefully the cafeteria will be serving a smaller fruit, like grapes.
PS: Welcome to the new 2011 corps members! This is the most ridiculously difficult thing you’ll ever do, but watching a child learn something you taught is worth every sleepless night, chaotic class, and apple attack. Get ready to teach!