I only had to teach fifth grade today. I didn’t need to use my planning periods, so I stayed with them through all three after school classes.
Things are getting better. It’s still hard. They hate being there. After a 6 hour school day, they have to be at school for four more hours for enrichment (i.e. babysitting with a better name).
I’ve got to find ways to make them buy into this. Part of that has to be building relationships with them. With the exception of two students who are African American, the entire class is latino. Mostly Dominicana. Once some of the girls discovered that I speak a little Spanish and definitely understand the things they’re whispering, they seemed to have a bit more respect and interest in me. Things just kind of took off.
This is definitely going to force me to improve my Spanish. I know I *should* be encouraging English, but it’s after school and I’d rather they wanted to be in class with me. I am the only white teacher these students have ever had. I’m serious. I need to find a way to help them buy into being there.
They’re definitely skeptical about me, the two male students outright distrust me. Whatever connections I can make are important. One student N, has become my little friend and likes to pretend to be my Spanish teacher. She’s been making me translate English into Spanish on the fly, which is very difficult for me. I can read and understand spoken Spanish very well, but speaking it and writing it myself always makes me too nervous.
We didn’t get as much work done today as I would have liked, but I feel like I have a better grasp of who they are. And for the most part, they don’t seem to see me as such a stranger anymore.
Have you thought of studying Dominican culture and history and doing some art around that? My kids love studying Mexican art and have a deeper connection to artists like Kahlo and Rivera because it is part of their culture. They also love when I learn alongside them and show a genuine interest in their culture. It is so fun to share those experiences together and it builds a connection we can all share. It is one of the reasons I am so adamant about teaching North America and not just the U.S. regions because our learning is so rich and the kids have immense background knowledge to share and use as a jumping off point for deeper conversations.
Also I have to say I think it would do a disservice to the kids to not speak in Spanish sometimes. It is so frustrating to me when people try to say that kids should only speak English in school. It is like looking at the kids and saying that their native language, the only language many of their family members speak, isn’t valuable or good enough. It creates a further divide between home and school when we really need to be fostering that connection. Students who have both languages are far better off academically and socially-emotionally. When a student and I can talk about the similarities and differences of Spanish and English it is invaluable. They start to see connections between the 2 languages in addition to viewing both their languages as important pieces of who they are. I love brushing up on my Spanish and being able to ask my kids how to say something in Spanish. It is such a great relationship builder and is me saying, “I don’t know everything, and you have something you can teach me, so can you help me?”
I think it is great that you’re looking for ways to connect with these kids and engage them more.
"How Can I Coach a Resistant Teacher?" (Part 1) - The Art of Coaching Teachers - Education Week Teacher
…But technological change is as much emotional and psychological as it is instruction. If you don’t first have the teacher in the mood to learn, you’ll be struggling. So, be careful of labeling the teacher as resistant in the first place and be willing to teach and encourage the teacher wherever he/she is. This is a nice article from Elena Aguilar. Check out part 2 after reading this one.
This was helpful for me as we potentially embark on an adventure in blended learning with the goal of shifting our practice & thinking as a K-12 school.
It also was good through the lens of having a new teammate next year, who happens to be a new teacher as well. She’s visited for 2 days but I don’t feel like I really know her any better than I did during the interview, and I’m struggling with how best to help her and interact when I don’t understand her personality or learning/teaching style. Maybe I will see if we can get coffee sometime and approach some of those questions as a jumping off point.
Not sure what our pace/time was because the new app we were using didn’t track it (about 5k distance-wise), but I do know it felt like the best run I’ve done.
We did week 2 day 1 of C25K and ran on all the intervals in addition to a couple extra jogs afterward.
Hubby and I were laughing, smiling, and did a fun little sprint across the bridge.
So I have about 7 days of instruction left. Inevitably at least 1 of those will be taken away by some assembly or end of the year activity that comes up. This is the last full week of school before an essentially 3-day week and the end of the year.
Add that it is 7:20 on Sunday and I really need to prepare for my end of year mtg with admin on Tuesday. I need to gather data and calculate if I met my SGOs (Student Growth Objectives) in reading and math, show how I tracked all my data for the year / how I plan to track it next year, and I’m supposed to bring at least a rough overview of my curriculum map for next year.
Given all the things that I need to get done administratively this week I am leaning towards not doing heavy planning for our lessons, but that makes me so frustrated because I am tired of the kids and actual instruction coming last since there isn’t enough time to do the “behind the scenes” work.
I am starting to get really sad about sending my babies to 5th grade and just want to do some awesome stuff with them the remainder of the year. Maybe I’ll do what I can for my mtg and then tomorrow go in early and spend my plan time just working on solidifying our week.
I applied to a charter school in North Jersey a few days ago, and they just emailed me tonight.
They want to know if I want to be considered for an English position, a Social Studies position, or both!
My main goal is to teach English, but I’d love to be considered for both. But I ALSO know that…
I would say you have more experience teaching English but that you’d be happy to teach social studies if they felt you were qualified for the job. I know on the hiring committee we’ve had it happen several times this year that our second choice for the position is someone we really want to bring in to our school but there was someone who edged them out a bit in qualifications, personality fit with the team / students, etc. Sometimes knowing the students and staff they would be working with we feel they would be a better choice for position x instead of y. By saying only English you could lose out altogether if there is a stronger candidate for one, even though they might really want to hire you for social studies.
That said, I don’t recommend applying for every position under the sun without having a clear focus because it shows the committee that you care more about getting a job than getting at job at THAT school. I think since your scope is narrow and you’re being honest about your experience it speaks well to your strengths as well as willingness to learn.