New teacher diaries

April 15, 2010

Going too far?

I’ve often expressed my wish that there were more effective discipline at my secondary school. But when I read an article a few months ago about how a 12-year-old New York City student was actually arrested and handcuffed for merely writing on a desk, I was almost impressed with how my school deals with certain issues.

April 1, 2010

The balancing act

Recently, my class had a very, very difficult afternoon. Julio had not had a good day: yelling, singing, humming, tapping, taking his chair wherever he pleased, pulling his jacket over his head, etc.

March 18, 2010

Fighting classroom boredom

It is a frequent occurrence in many classrooms: A lesson is underway when suddenly, from the back of the room, comes the exclamation that no teacher wants to hear: “Miss, your class is so boring!”

March 4, 2010

The things I believe (or, “What do I know? I’m only a teacher”)

My mother, a former principal, recently forwarded me an Edweek article entitled “These Things We Believe.” Although I’m still technically a neophyte, I empathize with and lift my voice in support of teachers who are, according to the article, “so discouraged about the conditions under which they’re working and the daily criticism they’re hearing.”

February 18, 2010

'The Peace Tree'

I taught my first year in the New York City public school system at an elementary school in a hardscrabble neighborhood of the South Bronx. My self-contained English as a second language class had 26 students, bridging 2nd and 3rd grade. Fresh out of graduate school, I imagined it would be a Community of Learners.

February 4, 2010

Off and writing

Every teacher knows that if work relates to a child’s world, their dedication to achieving success in the work will be that much greater. Our Mosaic Project lesson today focused on cultivating thoughts that would motivate the students to take photographs that spoke about them as members of the community.

January 11, 2010

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

As any family with Italian heritage can tell you, speaking with your hands is practically a necessity. In fact, growing up in my family if you wanted to tell your cousin to “shut up” without getting in trouble, you would say “Sit on your hands!”

December 17, 2009

Modern-day one-room schoolhouse

This is my third year as a teacher, but in many ways it’s a first. It’s only my second year in the classroom and it’s my first year teaching 5th grade. In my self-contained ESL class, we’ve grown from 20 to 28 students since September — all of my new students are brand new to the country.

November 26, 2009

Making the grade

There were a lot of things I was anxious about when I came out of the School of Ed. One was the switch from being the graded to being the grader.

November 12, 2009

A partnership that works

After two years as a solo teacher, I was hired to be the general ed teacher in a CTT class. I was nervous about working with a partner. Would we share the same educational philosophy?

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