Stuff Students Say

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 27 2012

Coming out even?

Since I joined TFA, I’m guessing most of my friends and family members have become well acquainted with my typical answers to the questions, “So, how are things going?” or “How’s your class doing this week?”  I’ve become pretty used to giving those answers, too.  It’s funny (but actually kinda sad) how accustomed you can become to the insanity of working in a struggling school with students who aren’t used to accountability.

Things have been a little different lately, though.  My administration has been making sensible decisions and actually helping me hold my students to higher expectations.  My students have gone out of their way to be respectful to me and are even eager to learn.






No, but seriously. Things have been a tiny bit better lately.  Way more kids than I expected were motivated to do re-takes and make-up work before semester grades came out.  I only gave 3 F’s!!! Sometimes I actually get through several minutes of instruction without any significant interruptions.  We hardly EVER throw pencils or small objects like batteries (seriously, WTF?) anymore.  We watched a Flocabulary current events rap video (check it out! and then actually had a class current events discussion (Most of the boys think the Italian captain was justified in abandoning ship).  And -just because I know some people think I don’t celebrate my successes enough- I did teach some pretty kickass, oh-so-painfully-TFA math lessons this week.

And yeah, I still gave a lot of D minuses.  And today A. ripped up the math binder I bought for him, including all of his copies of the previously mentioned kickass guided notes.  And J. still doesn’t want to do any of his work, plus I’m pretty sure the word he’s saying in Somali when he gets a consequence does not mean “okay ma’am.”  Oh and also, math might be getting better, but my language arts curriculum is still a mess.


But anyway, point for point, I think I’m getting closer to coming out even at the end of the week.


Especially if I count the bonus points:

-”Ms. S, why do you ALWAYS make us do newspaper and magazine projects, ughhh!”

-I. was mad that I wouldn’t let him title his ancient Israel project “Israel Swag.” I suggested that we compromise and he could somehow incorporate the word ‘swag’ into one of his articles.  He turns to M. and says, “Oh man, Ms. S just gave me the BEST idea ever!”

-I confiscated a note that I was 99%  sure would say ‘Ms. S. sucks.’ Instead it declared, “Iman <3 Abdullahi!!!!”.  Ah, middle school love.

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    I used to be a journalist. Now I just quote students.

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