"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Thursday, September 17, 2009

teaching updates!

hi all,

sorry for the lack of posts and writing. i'm hoping i can find good reason to write here again, but i'm happy to say my absence is due to the fact that i've been spending my time and energy doing other things.

the most significant thing being that i've started teaching again. i am now nearing the end of week 2. year 2 has gotten off to a good start so far, but i am wary of getting too hopeful and optimistic. i find myself constantly tense in my classes, sensitive to every movement of my students, remembering how small habits could eventually expound into mammoth annoyances (pencil sharpening, bathroom breaks, whispering, and tardies being the biggest red flags in my class so far).

ben came in the day before school started to help me decorate and clean my classroom, and it's actually a clean place where i feel happy coming to work every day, and the kids seem to love it.

(embarrassing realization: the poster looks like it says "Welcome to Ms. Lee's Ass" – which, i assure you, it does not.)

i had the first week of classes planned out, and have been working hard to always plan one week ahead of time (so far it's been working well but i worry about the weight of all my classes and preps once the year really gets going). having a clear and consistent plan for my students from the beginning of the year has already saved me lots of frustration and anxiety, and i'm much happier about teaching my students and my content area as a result of having a quiet and orderly classroom. i've worked really hard this year at establishing classroom norms and fostering community values and collaboration among my students.

students working together to test strategies for building the tallest tower of cups.

as a result, i've had much better success with group projects and even more impressive, having my students self-regulate and resolve their own problems, whether its personal quarrels with classmates, or confusion regarding a class task. i've also established a comment box for the students to drop in notes to me, which so far has helped me understand the needs of my students better, and also given them an outlet to submit ideas.

in short, i'm happy to report that there's less time to spend here, because there's so much to do away from the computer! i'm finally seeing my ideals of democracy and community realized in my own classroom, and i finally feel like i'm doing something good for these students (rather than feeling like i'm damaging my students permanently by being an inexperienced first year teacher, which was the general sentiment i had last year).

more later, but now, some lesson planning.



K. said...

Stephanie, this was so exciting and heartening to read! I'm so glad that your 2nd year of TFA is off to a good start.

I wish that we were still able to end our days at Alexander. I'd love to be able to talk with you about TFA and the experiences I'm having with AmeriCorps (I'm spending a year working with first generation college students & it's definitely an experience).

I hope things keep going well for you!


stephan!e lee said...


I miss our days together too. I miss our stimulating and occasionally snarky conversations over dinner after having two EDL classes together.

What are your plans after Americorps? I want to go to grad school but I fear the monotony.

Hope things are splendid. I hope we can talk together soon!