I started off the week feeling good -- I thought I had gotten ahead by doing more work over the weekend. Turns out I was right on track. At least that's not behind? I started off the week with two of the simplest objectives, related to place values.
Monday: Objective 2. Student mastery on diagnostic? 31 percent. Student mastery after my class? 80 percent.
Now, for all you non TFA people, 80 percent mastery is like the benchmark of success. In essence, after I graded my assessments, I shrieked and lept out of my chair in the workroom. Now, a few children were absent but a mix of those who would have gotten it and others that probably would just not have even attempted it.
Tuesday could have had similar results. However, whereas some students were missing on Monday, ALL 13 of them showed up on Tuesday. Including the girl who was asked not to come back unless she brought grandma (who also attended my class), the ELL student who thought was moving, and the child who came on the first day and hadn't been back since. Meaning, he'd missed 6 days of school. My Faculty Adviser had told us to take two of those students off the roster -- I was short a few copies of my classwork and had to meekly approach the office to use the copier (a big no-no in most cases since TFA provides free printing for us at Georgia Tech).
Wednesday revealed a huge miscommunication between me and a coteacher. This was also the day that someone from Nashville staff observed me, and that I was videotaped. I have yet to see the videotape. While I don't necessarily want to see what my face looked like as I realized that these children were so unprepared for the material in my lesson, I am anxious to see what my face looked like when a child, who usually does not participate, was excited to read the word problem off the board. What was "J spent $1.19 on a set of pencils" somehow came out as "J spent $1.19 on a set of panties"
My class on Thursday went fairly well (Happy Birthday to me!) and my class mastery went up another 12 points.
Friday. As much as the students are ready for the weekend, trust me, teachers are ready for it too. We had so many behavioral breakdown issues that it was hard to turn around without seeing another child doing something that they expressly were told not to do. I entered my class in the wrong mindset, having just had an emotional conversation with my CMA about how to make progress with my kids. My class this week has been at the very end of the day, and the class was losing it
--"Ms. A, Ms. A, I don't know how to DO this" (followed by a perfect score on the assessment"
--"Oh My GAWD" (when told she needed to write her multiplication answers in both forms, ie AxB is the same as BxA)
--"I have 30 tickets now." (No, we exchange tickets for prizes in the morning. You will have to wait) "I have 30 tickets now"
The kids get a prize on Fridays: If they can get enough class points, they can listen to a Michael Jackson song. For some reason, all the children are obsessed with Michael (aside from one, who loves Janet more). This week's goal was 115. By the end of class, they had 114. I told them that if they could follow our line up procedure, I would go ahead and give them that last point. Not only could they not do that, they talked during an intercom announcement (an automatic point if they are silent for it). I had to be the one to tell them that they were getting no Michael this week.
As one of the other teachers helped to get them out the door, I turned my back to my kids and tried to hold in tears. I couldn't give one concise reason for it then, and even after a day of distinctly non-teaching related activities (World of Coke and World Cup), I can't exactly place my finger on why it all happened the way it did.
For now, I'm focusing on the positives. I rated pretty well on TFA's overly complicated rubric for teaching and have a clearer idea of in what areas I need to improve. I managed to use cubes to teach my lesson on Thursday. I am using a basketball on Monday to teach. I heard from my school in Nashville, and I'll be teaching 4th grade -- my first choice!