New teacher diaries

November 25, 2010

My 3rd-grade funk

I spent the last two and a half years teaching a self-contained English-as-a-second-language kindergarten class. During that time, I slowly grew to be a confident, effective teacher.

November 11, 2010

The ‘Moveable Museum’

One of the greatest things about teaching in a big city like New York is that there are resources everywhere you turn. Some of them are great, some of them are so-so and some turn out to be terrible. But there is no shortage of opportunities for learning outside the classroom.

October 28, 2010

What to do after a bad day

A few days ago, I had my first “bad” day of the semester. It wasn’t all bad; in fact, a lot of it was good. I got flowers and two cards from students for my birthday and my last two classes sang to me and were extremely well-behaved. The first two classes of the day, however, did not go as planned.

October 14, 2010

Learning to love learning

Last week my school gave parents an opportunity to meet with teachers. In my halting, broken Spanish, I dispensed as many suggestions as possible for the handful of parents who visited my 3rd-grade classroom.

September 30, 2010

Happy together

When I interviewed at my new elementary school and the principal asked me whether I’d be interested in a collaborative team teaching classroom, I immediately said yes. I wanted the experience of being in a classroom where students who needed a modified curriculum were getting the services they deserved. And I was also interested in the experience of team teaching.

September 9, 2010

Getting ready for a new year

As I have reflected this summer on my first year as a teacher, I feel I have grown a lot as an educator and will certainly start this coming year off very differently from the last. Still, many people have told me that the second year is in some ways harder than the first.

June 17, 2010

Endings and beginnings

I had a truly fantastic birthday at school. First and foremost, Julio’s mother gave me the greatest birthday gift of all by not sending Julio — my biggest problem student, a 2nd-grader prone to epic meltdowns and all manner of out-of-control behavior — to school on my birthday. As a result, it was a blessedly relaxing day, and I was genuinely touched by the gifts and the love my students gave me.

June 3, 2010

As it turns out, I don’t know everything

Dear Gladys, Today, when you were supposed to be reading your book, and while I was meeting with another 5th-grade student, I saw you writing something furiously. You are one of the few students in the class who regularly and dutifully records your thoughts on Post-its and, when I excused myself from my conference to come see what you were doing, I expected to see just that.

May 20, 2010

Drawing inspiration from the best and the worst

As professional educators, most of us can point to that one great teacher who encouraged us to work hard, challenged us with new ideas and ultimately inspired us to follow this career path. But recently I started to think about that teacher’s opposite: the worst teacher I ever had, the one who brought me down and made me feel small.

May 6, 2010

Selling our souls

The imposing forces known as the ELA and math tests have been moving in since September. If you’ve seen the television show “V,” you are familiar with the image of the alien visitors’ ship hovering above New York City and hanging there as an ominous sign of the new world order. That’s the best way I can describe the tests.

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