Monday, June 15, 2009

The First Day of Teaching

Today was the first day that Teach For America teachers started instructing summer school. Needless to say everybody was running around all over campus trying to get things together to try and make their first day as a teacher the best it could be. I even heard one of my buddies say that he saw a woman fall down with all of her teaching supplies. I guess a high heels and having your hands full is not very conducive with walking up a hill.

This morning I had a terrifying knock on my door. It was my roommate Mark. "Andrew, are you in there?" Needless to say, I was alarmed and answered the door and found out it was 6a.m. much to my dismay because I set my alarm for 5:15. Turns out I set my alarm for 5:15p.m. Thank God for people like Mark that are aware of when their roommates usually wake up.

As a result of the late wake up my morning was hectic as I quickly hopped out of bed, got in and out of the shower, hopped in a shirt and tie, and was walking to the dining hall. It was probably for the best that I got up so late because otherwise I would have just had more time to get nervous before I taught.

I got to school, set everything up, and eventually taught. The way TFA does summer school (for my location) is that I only teach every other day for 90min each day I teach. So, I teach Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this week and Tuesday and Thursday of next week. Today was great though, I ended up going a little under time on my lesson plan but was able to improve, with the help of my Faculty Assistant, quite easily. I taught some vocabulary (context clues) and textual features (paragraph, topic sentence, concluding sentence) today and it seemed as though they got it just fine. As I glanced over their assessments at the end of the day it seems as though there are a few students that I will need to spend some time with reteaching my lesson but, overall, the students learned and were a joy to have. I'm just glad the students are fairly well behaved and my classroom management structure seems solid as well.

The day was great. The days go a lot faster when you're actually teacher your students as opposed to sitting around in seminars all day. I'm excited about getting and applying feedback to the journey to becoming an effective teacher. I just need to remember that the kids here in Atlanta aren't my lab rats; they're students that desperately need instruction. They need to pass their standardized tests so they can go on to 6th grade. As one CMA (Corps Member Advisor) put it, "Someone once told me to teach like a life was on the line...well guess what...a life is on the make sure you bring your integrity every day!" That's motivation to work hard and become an effective teacher.

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