Tuesday, June 29, 2010


In my last post I talked about an issue I was having with a girl I work with to coordinate a tutoring program. Well, after a drama-filled day yesterday and today, the "heads in charge" had a meeting to put everything out there. This particular girl, to whom I will refer as K, brought up the fact that everyone hates her, she doesn't know why, and she's tired of trying to make everyone happy so she's giving up. WHAT???!!! My first thought was that she needed to look in the mirror because the major problem wasn't everyone else it was her. We began to have what felt like an "intervention" for K. It at first felt a little dramatic, but it actually turned out to be very productive.

I learned a lot about K, from how many people don't get along with her to how she doesn't like to open up to others. All of this, along with other factors have landed her in the middle of a toxic mess. I then shared my perspective on self-reflection and how if everyone is perceiving you in a negative way (even people who just met you a week ago, like I did), you need to do some self-reflecting about what you're doing and how to modify it so that others are more receptive to you. I think she received what I was saying, but I know I learned a great lesson too. I had pretty much written her off as the girl with the bad attitude who was all about herself. I am going to trust that what I saw in her during our meeting was sincere. First impressions are key, but I think everyone deserves a second chance to redeem themselves.

Whether this is with colleagues or students, no one should be labeled or outcast because of what they've done in the past. K and I now have a fresh start and I hope that nothing but great things come from it. We all have needed a 're-do' at some point in our lives and I am glad I was able to provide an opportunity for someone else to have one this time around!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Teacher Camp

Right now, I am away at "teacher camp" as I call it. It is a summer internship that is a component of one of the teacher scholarships I received during undergrad. This is my last summer requirement and it is a little awkward since the majority of the 4 weeks is geared toward preparing us for student teaching and the interview process....double check for me! It is my personal goal to humble myself as much as possible and take away as much as I can.

On pretty cool thing about the program is that we will be tutoring middle school students in the inner city in reading/writing/math. I, along with 7 others, volunteered to spear-head the tutoring program. In other words, we are planning the structure and format for the 4 week tutoring program. We will then meet with the other 50 interns and present our proposal for how the program will run. I was a little hesitant after volunteering for this role because I was turned off by some of the "larger-than-life" personalities we have in our planning committee. I totally respect and appreciate the experience and knowledge that other colleagues bring to the table, but I absolutely detest when others feel that their perspective is superior to that of others in the group. There is one girl in particular who seems to feel like she should be calling all of the shots and we should all be following her lead. Collaboration is essential in teaching and I just get annoyed when people don't seem to have received the same memo.

So, in keeping with my philosophy of self-reflecting after a long venting session, I have learned a great lesson in the importance of respecting all work styles, even when I may not feel like mine is being respected. Arguing never did anything to solve an issue and I'm sure it won't start now!! We have a meeting of the minds this evening, so I am praying that as educators we can stay civilized, open for collaboration, and respectful. The main goal is to tutor students in their areas of need and we most certainly cannot achieve that if all of those responsible for the program are bickering the whole time about how things should be.

Lastly, during one of our seminars today, our presenter left us with a great quote:
"Complaining is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do, but doesn't get you anywhere". I love this quote because when we as teachers complain about what is not working or who is not doing what, we spend are time doing something, but not getting anywhere. I will continue to strive to use my time trying to actually get somewhere rather than complaining about it....I challenge you to try it too!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Writing and Planning

I recently took my Spanish Language Proficiency test and to be honest, I’m trying not to think about it too much. I have a bad habit of worrying myself to death about little things and big things alike and I am trying to make a change for the better. I do, however, think I did fairly well...I get the results back on July 2 so I will provide the fantastic update that is to come!

I’ve been trying to take it easy this week because I have all week training on our Every Day Math curriculum. I am really excited because I know very little about it and I cannot wait to learn more about implementing it in my classroom. Since my posts have been so scarce lately, I am trying to set myself a goal of posting the highlights about it at the end of next week.

This week, I have been reading up on our district’s writing curriculum. There is a teacher’s book in the series called “The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Writing”. It has given me a lot of insight into what Writer’s Workshop really looks like. One of the things that the district in which I student taught lacked was a Writing curriculum. In 5th grade, we were able to squeeze in about 90 mins of writing in each week…on a good week!! With this curriculum, we have 45-60 mins each day of writing!! I think this is so awesome and truly necessary to developing great writers. I am excited about all I am learning.

In preparing for the upcoming school year, I would like to know what suggestions you all have about using your summer to think/plan/organize for next year. What are priorities for you in the summer, in preparation for the upcoming year? Thanks for sharing!