Days of a New DC Teacher

My days as a new, young teacher in an urban district

Phew! Teaching is not THAT hard!

      I am so thankful I went through the hell I went through during student teaching because my first year of teaching so far is going very well! Sorry I haven't updated my blog. I have been very busy trying to make everything as perfect as possible for my classroom and it's working. They gave me 3rd and 4th graders. Our school is bilingual and multilevel so I have a variety of kids in my classroom. I work with a coteacher and we split up the students to make it easier to work with them. I have found that working hard really pays off. Staying late and being detail oriented with my lesson plans have kept me away from any disasters.

      The best thing is, my classroom management skills are great! I remember when my not-so-sympathetic (I have another word in mind) student teaching supervisor told me that she thought I might not make it as a teacher because I didn't have perfect control of the class. She thought I didn't have "what it takes." She was completely wrong. I've found out that I have probably the BEST behaved class in the entire school. We have regular meetings and new teachers as well as veteran teachers are struggling with controlling their students. What I noticed is that they did not nip that in the bud at the very beginning. Even my coteacher told me not to worry about a management plan because "the kids just don't need it." Nonsense! Everyone needs rules and guidelines. I followed my intuitions and our bingo boards, raffles, prizes, and good phone calls home are really worth it.

      I am very happy with how things are going. I stay late every night and I get there early. I take my time to make fun powerpoints to teach my students. The veteran teachers are even afraid to approach a computer! At my student teaching school, a visualizer or projector was commonplace and was as normal as a pencil. I showed a powerpoint for the first time to these groups of students in D.C. and I have never seen such a reaction. It was their first experience with technology in the classroom!

      The only problem I have had are problems with the administration. They are not too quick to act on things and seem to not be too organized. I am doing my best for the kids and taking it a week at a time. Time, however, is flying by. I hope the administration really gets its act together. If it doesn't, I'm not sure I will stay. However, nothing feels better than coming back to your old elementary school to teach alongside your old elementary school teachers. I love teaching!

Starting my first year of teaching! Concerns Already?

          It’s my day off of work today so I went to pick up “The First Days of School” by Harry and Rosemary Wong. In my excitement of beginning my own classroom, I had brought it to my part-time job at Radioshack with the intention of reading it during my lunchtime but didn’t get the chance. So I just cracked it open. In the induction of the book is a photo of a teacher who says that she had the keys to the classroom in June, cleaned the entire classroom, but was still overwhelmed because she did not know where to start. This is when the book comes in handy.

          JUNE!?!? For me, it is now August 5th and I don’t even know what grade I am teaching. I have talked to the principal but she seems to know as little as I do. She says the computer systems have been down and students are still enrolling. I don’t know where my room is, who I will teach with (since every classroom consists of two teachers), so I will most likely be more overwhelmed than this lucky little teacher on page v.

          This entire book is about how to succeed in teaching by being prepared. It is a shame that I am seeing the faults of the educational system before even beginning to teach. How can I fully prepare myself for what I am about to do if I am not given the information I need? I only have 20 days until I open my doors to- who knows how many students- and I can’t even order books for them because I don’t know their reading levels. I am starting from scrap.

          The principal says to give her another week to find out the information. She claims that she has also ordered the “machines” I asked for. I had asked for a visualizer, projector, and projection screen. She is not sure which were ordered but she says she will check. Good news right there! Now I am wondering which part of the package will have to come from out of pocket because I am almost certain that all three things were not ordered. But I am prepared. NO- I am not prepared in the layout of my room. NO-I am not prepared in the lesson plans I will write because I have not been given the curriculum. I am not even prepared to open a new bank account because I don’t know how much I will make (new pay plan is being proposed). However, I am prepared to face whatever this profession has to throw at me. With an open heart and an open wallet, I am ready to begin.