learning to be ms frizzle

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 22 2011

And it begins….

Last weekend  I graduated, jumped in a uhaul, and came to Colorado (ie no blog last week). I wonder when I will get use to the breathtaking views everywhere I look….. or to the fact that it froze the other night and its 100 degree s in Texas. More importantly, when will I get use to the fact that I am a teacher? I used my teacher discount at Barnes and Noble, and felt really unsure when I said “I teach high school”.  I better feel like a teacher fast because I start as the assistant (freshman or jv) volleyball  coaching in two days!

I arrived at my school last week to meet with administration, athletic director, science teachers, and tfa team. There will be 5 returning CMs at my school, and one of them will be teaching biology with me, which is really exciting. Not only that, but the chemistry/physics teacher I met who’s room is across the hall from my classroom (… I have a classroom, and a badge and keys!) was extremely helpful already in answering the million questions I had and hopefully will be able to help more as a start teaching in the fall. Finally, I met my PD for next year who happens to have been a biology teacher at my school for the past two years – talk about a great resource!

The night before every big event I usually can’t sleep because my brain is continuously going over tons of scenarios. My first recollection of this occurring was the night before field day in fourth grade, ever since then before a big trip, an important test or game, or a TFA interview I run through a million different things instead of sleeping. Well, last night I did that with coaching and teaching. This is not good! Other times it was ONLY the night before  a big event, I can’t start doing this months before I start teaching, especially now when my body is pretty sure its allergic to Colorado.

The only thing I think I can do to remedy this is read, though it may backfire by spurring more ideas than before. I just got Teach like a Champion (my school’s assistant principal is really into this book, as well as a few others I have spoke with, so it must be worth while) and I am starting lesson 3 of pre-institute work. In addition, I am trying to remember the first weeks of volleyball practices over the 10 seasons I played. Hopefully I am still decent otherwise how am I suppose to teach someone else how to approach, set, etc. Also, in my late nigh scenarios, I am thinking about how to tie volleyball to biology and academic success. I think I am going to require anyone on my team with a C on a test or in a class to go to at least two tutoring sessions a week until they bring their grade up. In addition, I think I will tie in the idea of adaption.

While, like most of my blog, this post is a mixture of random thoughts, I have been thinking primarily of two things, besides when I get to move into my classroom. 1st, how am I going to balance coaching and being a first year teacher? My district and school has mandatory meetings, what if they are the same time as practice? I don’t want to miss practice ever, much less every Monday (or whenever the meetings are). In addition, being in the gym after school means no time for after school tutoring sessions if students need them. I will be available before school, but school starts at 7:15 so it is unlikely that students will come at 6:30 am for help. Saturday sessions will be a no go because I’m pretty sure thats when TFA licensing sessions are.

2nd  the ongoing race discussion on Teach for Us. My fist reaction on the subject is that my background allows me to not be intimated by this issue, but I don’t think that excludes me from it at all. I think that our personal background experiences effect how we look and think about anything. I feel culturally diverse, when it comes to Houston inner city cultures at least (I learned in college how naive I was in high school about other cultures from around the world), and have already acknowledged my bias toward the “upperclass” which I am working on . In an average situation it is important to realize our bias. Yet we are not in an average situation, but are going to be standing in front of students influencing how they see the world. I will be a science teacher, but I want to teach my students how to think, not just what to think. They need to learn how to question the world they live in. Where does __ come from, why is ___ the predominate view, why why why? So…. back to the main point, I think it is important to discuss these issues so that we can overcome them to give our students the best possible future.

That was a lot. Thanks for reading!

-Ms R

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