Students Shine Philly Style

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 11 2011

This is Actually Happening

Yesterday was my first day of professional development of my school, and that’s when it hit me–this is actually happening! I already completed Institute, and now it’s time for the big leagues. A LOT has occurred over the past two days, and A LOT has to be done tonight so be prepared for my first night of grad school tomorrow, so here’s a brief recap of the highlights:

-I am teaching 10th grade English

-I’m teaching 2 courses: a corrective reading course called Language!; and a course called Literature (I get to teach The Catcher in the Rye, Night, Lord of the Flies, & The Color of Water, among others)

-in June I applied, and today I found out that I was chosen, for the assistant cross country coach position at my school! It’s a co-ed team. I can’t wait to use this to build strong, meaningful relationships with my students and their peers, and I can’t WAIT to get some kids on the team who never ever thought they’d do cross country :) Kind of like me in high school!

-Our Chief Academic Officer took his pants off in yesterday’s closing “Pep Rally.” No, I’m serious. He offered us one piece of advice as new teachers–always have a “hook” at the beginning of your lesson to get students interested in what they’re learning–and he said that the only surefire way to do that was to…take your pants off. Don’t worry, he had long johns and shorts underneath, but it was nonetheless hilarious. He then went on to explain our school’s core values, and by the end he was wearing a clown wig with a hat on top, a superman cape, and had a banjo slung around his shoulder, strumming a tune while we sang a school about how excited we are to be at our school, to the tune of “She’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes”

-We got laptops! Each teacher/staff member at our school received an awesome messenger bag with the school’s colors and logo, and a lenovo laptop. It’s a bit old-school, but heck, it’s a laptop, and that’s pretty awesome.

-I start grad school tomorrow. Since I’m in professional development all next week during the regularly scheduled week-long summer bridge course, my colleagues and I–in addition to some corps members at other charters with conflicts–get to spend 4 hours tomorrow night, and a total of 20 hours on Saturday & Sunday, completing an intensive version of the summer bridge course. Though I’d kill for a weekend off just to rest and shake off this cold I’m getting, I am so PUMPED about starting grad school. After being out of school and in the “real world” for 2 years, I think I’m really going to appreciate my time as a student again.

So much is happening and at such a fast pace, but it’s so exciting at the same time. It makes me feel alive as silly as that may sound. Oh and one more thing…my placement school was one of the lowest performing schools in the country. Last year it was 9% proficient on the state standardized PSSAs. So as a charter and under our new admin, our new slogan is “All We Do is Win!” Like the song…no matter what…

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