New teacher diaries

February 14, 2013

Evaluate this!

Everyone’s talking about the breakdown in the teacher evaluation talks between the mayor and the union as if it were the only chance to fix public education in New York City. Do we need an evaluation system? Absolutely. Is it a cure-all for our educational ills? Absolutely not.

December 6, 2012

Flood of questions follow floods from Sandy

After a week without classes, my 5th-graders filed back into school. Fortunately for my class, no one had been directly affected by Hurricane Sandy beyond some minor power outages, though others in our school were not as lucky. But that is not to say we didn’t feel the effects of this tragedy in a very personal way.

September 27, 2012

My search for my inner teacher

“You don’t understand, Miss. I’m peeeeeiiiing,” Samantha says on the third day of school. Her request reminds me of Nora, a student from last year. Both Samantha and Nora chose to loudly request to go to the bathroom as they entered the classroom just the day after I explained to my high school students the process for silently asking to go only after the first 10 minutes of class had passed.

June 28, 2012

Tallying the year’s insights

Nearly 10 months ago, I embarked on my fourth year of teaching. I found myself working longer, harder and smarter than I have at any point in my career. These are some of my most valuable takeaways heading into the summer.

April 19, 2012

Test prep season

As my 3rd-graders prepare to take the state tests, I imagine they’re thinking something like this: I used to love school. I used to skip there every morning after breakfast. I used to run as fast as I could to get to my classroom (except when an adult was in the hall — then I walked as fast as I could).

February 23, 2012

To catch a plagiarist

My teaching career is not yet “very long,” but I have honed some particular skills during my years in the classroom. Spotting plagiarism is one of them. I assigned my high school Spanish students the following project: Choose one holiday from a list of celebrations in Spanish-speaking countries and write a three-page research paper, including a picture.

November 24, 2011

Blessings in disguise

In the summer of 2010 my world was turned upside down with seven words: “I have to move you to kindergarten.” Here I was, with just two years of teaching under my belt (teaching 4th and 5th grade), being forced by my principal to move. I panicked! I had no idea that a year later I’d be looking back on my kindergarten experience with fondness and a sense of accomplishment.

September 22, 2011

New ideas for a new school year

Few things are better than a fresh start. To come at something with new eyes, new lessons learned and a chance to do things differently than before — it’s reinvigorating. And teachers get one every September: a chance to reimagine everything, from how you teach to how you decorate your classroom.

June 23, 2011

Where did the year go?

Is it really June already? It seems almost impossible to believe. The school year always has its ebbs and flows, its points where you can’t see an end in sight and points where it seems the year is flying by. In mid-June, it feels like a little bit of both.

June 9, 2011

Yet, we test

Despite the great social and academic gains my students have made this year, they still wound up bruised and battered by the end of day three of testing. Several faces looked back at me from the tiny desks, big pencils in small hands, silently pleading for some kind of assistance in completing the tests’ tasks.

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