Monday, August 31, 2009

A Few Weeks In

Teaching thus far has been absolutely great! I know that the experience of my fellow first year teachers thus far has not been a glorious journey; however, I have had a good time. This is the start of our third week in school.

The first week of school was a definite trip. It was the first time that I had ever been in a classroom full time (not counting substitute teaching of course). Having 25 students from 8:00 to 3:00 was crazy. I was dead tired and my voice was struggling. Unfortunately, the last few weeks have been primarily rule and procedure driven so I have been doing most of the talking. Although, Wednesday of the first week I started introducing my makeshift curriculum and having my students participates in my informal diagnostics.

This week, week three, it is my goal to get my students absolutely perfect (even though every teacher tells me it's not possible). My class is almost there. We've tightened up the majority of our procedures and really need to get a few last things nailed up. At this point, my students are sick of my droning as I constantly repeat expectations, goals, procedures, and rules. Though they get sick of me they need the constant repetition. My students need structure. My students desperately need rules...they just don't realize it.

The only frustration I've had with being a teacher so far has been with my leadership and administration. They have only RECENTLY ordered curriculum (math books etc.), we do not have keys/key cards to the building yet, and discipline within the school seems severely lacking. Though I haven't really sent my students to the office the other teachers tell me awful stories about how their children are being disciplined. The biggest struggles are no curriculum and no key to get in and out of the building. Out of the eleven days we've had school I have been the first one here probably seven out of the eleven days. My principal has vowed to be at school by 6a.m. every day but has failed to follow through with that promise so I have been left alone in my car most mornings waiting to be let into school. It's sad that a first year teacher has to wait for the principal to get into school.

Things are great and I'm just trying to get into a flow. Sorry for the gaps between posts.

Monday, August 17, 2009


My first day of school was today. I'll be honest. It was great. I think I have a great class and they seem to respond to my style of communication and teaching. We were complicated numerous times about how well behaved we were in the hallways and cafeteria.

The school day was great. I didn't get a ton of procedural, rule learning done; however, there was a lot of school-wide procedures that were accomplished today. Tomorrow I'll get to introduce my big goals and investment plans to my students. One reason today was so much fun was because I made the students "create" the rules. In other words, I had my rules already made up but instead of forcing them upon my students I created a dialogue in which the students and I talked about rules and we got to "create", from scratch, our own classroom rules. The students were eager to create their own rules and they really felt invested in their class. And, the best part is that the rules they chose were the ones I selected for them anyway. This way, they feel invested as a class and I get to introduce their rules.

With all of that being said, as good of a day as it was, this day was just completely exhausting. I cannot believe the physical and mental strain that I had throughout the day. My hat is off to all of you teachers out there. Granted, this was my first day but I know that it'll be hard on me and my body for quite some time.

Well, I'm officially a teacher. Let the hard days, long hours, and physical strain begin. I'm just glad things started on a positive note.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Little Taste From Last Weekend

The Dave Matthews Band concerts from last weekend (July 31st and August 1st) were amazing and I thought I'd share a little clip with you. Granted, this clip is a god awful clip; however, the song itself is amazing. The clip ends with the end of the chorus of the song All Along the Watchtower by Bob Dylan. Dave Matthews Band have their own version of the song that, I must say, is incredibly better than Bob Dylan's and Jimi Hendrix's versions. The clip starts at the end of the chorus, goes into a violin solo (with an effect), kicks into a guitar solo that interpolates the classic Led Zeppelin song Stairway to Heaven. Dave then sings the last verse of Stairway to Heaven as the trumpet and saxophone are playing the last groove in Stairway to Heaven. Dave then ends with the chorus of All Along the Watchtower.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Pentatonic Scale

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

I love Bobby McFerrin. Everything I have seem him do he blows my mind. He is famously known for the song "Don't Worry Be Happy"; although, he is an incredible musician and vocalist. This is an interesting video from the World Science Festival where Bobby McFerrin is talking about expectation using the stage as his keyboard playing the elegant, yet simple, pentatonic scale.