Teaching in Kansas City, one day at a time.

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 01 2013

“I love my job…Wait did I just say that?”

So, something amazing happened today.

Lately, I’ve been word vomiting about how much I want to quit. However, I made a decision over the weekend. My decision was to live in gratitude. Gratitude for my amazing roommates, who keep my going, for my kick butt MTLD, who meets with me an obscene amount of times a week, for my 12-step meetings that keep me sane. Heck, even gratitude for my kids, that drive me bonkers. Early on in the school year I created a call and response chant with my kids; I say, “We’ve got an attitude,” they reply emphatically, “of gratitude.” But if I teach a phrase, I have to model it daily; I have to walk my talk. I can’t make my classroom theme “The Peacemakers” and then go and scream in my kids face. (I can, and I have, but it’s extremely hypocritical and quite ineffective)

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I’m making the choice to be happy.

Today in class, I had a solid 15 minutes of kids working silently on their math. Additionally, when we worked on word work, I had the kids split up into groups. They were so excited about it, that they all spoke in their inside voices at their individual groups. It was phenomenal. I’ve start differentiating more, and I actually turned in a plan that was due to my principal on time today.

I’m not saying that there weren’t moments (read hours) where they were nutso. I am saying that what you focus on grows and I’m going to focus on the wins.

So I get home today, sit on my couch and watch some How I Met Your Mother, when suddenly, instead of blurting out, “I want to quit”, my internal-mind-tape wants to blurt out, “I love my job” I surprised even myself with that one. I love my kids. I love love love my kids. I pray daily that I can give them the education they deserve, many of my kids have had a Teach For America Corps Member as their teachers for kindergarten and first grade, and now here they are in second grade, never having been in an experienced teacher’s classroom. I find that sad. Understandably, the turnover is so high (amongst TFAs and traditional teachers alike).

I’m gearing up for “Black October”

Here we go.

 

 

3 Responses

  1. M

    45% didn’t quit this year, 45% quit or were fired since Teach For America came to this particular school in 2011. Moreover, the mass firing he was referring to occurred in 2010, under the former superintendent, who quit shortly there after.

    It’s not the fact that they have had TFAs for teachers that saddens me, just that they’ve not had experienced teachers. In all honesty, it seems like very few people want to teach in KCPS. Especially since it is no longer an accreditated school district due to low student performance. Many of the experienced teachers have moved to suburban schools, charter schools, and other districts.

    No one was lining up to take the vacancy left by my fellow CM who left on day 3.

    You both make valid points, than’s for your comments!
    I am looking forward to year two!!

  2. Knahgem

    On your last blog, you mentioned that 45% of CMs at your school had quit. I think it’s fair to assume that means 4 of 9 teachers. Of those 4 teachers, how many have been replaced with high quality experienced teachers?

    If Meghank is right and there is an army of highly qualified experienced teachers sitting on the sidelines, wouldn’t it be great that your TFA peers are quitting? That’s 4 classrooms that should now have amazing experienced teachers in them.

  3. Meghank

    I find that sad about the children’s educational experience, too.

    From Gary’s blog: “In Kansas City, they fired about 200 experienced teachers last year to make room for new TFA recruits. ”

    http://midwestdemocracy.com/articles/feeling-under-siege-non-returning-kc-district-teachers-get-defensive/

    Why do they keep doing this to the kids?

    But, good luck. Your first year reminds me of my first year. To give you something to look forward to, I will say that my second year was awesome!

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Teaching for the first time… praying we all get out alive


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