New teacher diaries

March 19, 2009

Snow day!

One of those funny little role reversals about becoming a teacher is that you realize that teachers fantasize about snow days as much as students do, and we feel the bitter sting of disappointment when we face the truism that New York City public schools never close because of snow.

March 5, 2009

A time and a place

A new reading teacher wonders when she will learn not to get to school an hour early to plan lessons she doesn’t get to teach because her principal keeps making her cover other classes.

February 19, 2009

The kindness of strangers

A new teacher talks about her success using, a nonprofit organization that matches classroom project proposals from around the country with online donors.

February 5, 2009

Books for boys

A new teacher tells of her efforts to get one of her students to read any book he wants, not just those from his “just right” level.

January 22, 2009

The copy wars

Ask new teachers about the biggest challenges they face and they might say classroom management, lesson planning or even navigating the various assessments and accountability issues that grew out of No Child Left Behind. But for this new teacher, the biggest difficulty I have experienced is using the copy machine.

December 11, 2008

The mean girls

An unwritten perk of being a high school teacher: there are plenty of opportunities to revisit one’s own high school memories (ah, The Awkward Years, Volume 1). The things that were unfair to me then are still unfair to my students. The things I tried to pull past my teachers then are still attempted in my classroom.

November 20, 2008

Does testing equal teaching?

A teacher tells of being so busy with assessments, she has no time to teach. “Then,” she writes, “our administration wonders why our kids aren’t improving, like they’re supposed to learn these reading strategies by osmosis or something ... unless they think that testing actually equals teaching?

November 6, 2008

Style vs. subsistence

Mid-lesson, nothing wrests my attention quite like a left-field comment about material things: “Miss, those are Prada shoes you got on!”

October 23, 2008

Ana’s story

An experience with a student helps a new teacher make the transformation from “just some unsure new teacher” to “not only a teacher, but an adult [the student] trusted and felt safe with.”

October 9, 2008

Easel of doom

Last year, I served 19 classes on all four floors of our school plus the annex one block away. I just loaded up an extra large Carol School Supply bag and a smaller tote and dumped all my supplies into them, carrying around all my charts, papers, markers, pencils, rewards, stickers, books and junk from place to place. This year, though, things were going to be different.

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