Stuff Students Say

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Dec 30 2011

“Maybe you never heard of it…”

I spent a good portion of today catching up on grading and FINALLY putting everything into an online gradebook, Engrade, which so far I’m very happy with.  When grades are due in 2 weeks I should easily be able to avoid a repeat of frantically grading all day and then still missing the deadline. Since…

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Dec 22 2011

Christmas is not even a real religion.

When we came back from Thanksgiving break, I had four straight weeks of teaching staring me in the face.  Just 1.5 days to go now, and it still seems a little impossible.  These past four weeks have been anything but easy, even though it’s definitely not October anymore and I swear a lot of people…

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Dec 01 2011

The round-up

Assignment:  Write a one-page fiction story on a topic of your choice, using correct grammar, punctuation and organization. (Teacher’s note:  They could have picked ANY topic they wanted.  This came from a boy who has semi-serious behavior issues, but has been doing better ever since his older brother came in to talk to me and…

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Dec 01 2011

Why I haven’t posted for 2 weeks

Two weeks ago, I started writing a long post about my worst week as a teacher so far.  Surprise, surprise:  it wasn’t about my kids (though they’ve recently taken post-Thanksgiving behavior fallback to a new level). For several reasons, that venting post will never see the light of day.  But to make a very long…

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Nov 09 2011

Just a few precious minutes

I’m definitely not the type to get all emotional and teary-eyed about my students and their life trajectories/limitless potential/bla bla bla, but I obviously do love them to pieces, even when they’re at their worst. And I love the little moments when I can step back and appreciate just how awesome they can be. For…

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Nov 05 2011

The lost essays

First quarter grades were due yesterday, which meant no school for the kids, and a full day of grading for me.  The amount of failing grades that I had to give was depressing, even though I’ve known for awhile that this would happen. I have 21 kids for 4 subjects, which means 84 total grades.…

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Nov 02 2011

Ok, it’s November 1st…

…Things should be easier now, right? Everyone kept telling me that October is the hardest month to be a teacher.  The kids are comfortable with you and ready to really test their limits, they know your routines and rules by now but CHOOSE not to follow them…and you’re still a long ways from Thanksgiving break.…

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Oct 25 2011

Letters & Notes

Excerpts from the “friendly letters” my class wrote to the students in my mom’s 1st/2nd grade class. They were supposed to describe their school, describe what we’re learning about in 6th grade, and then describe their favorite activity: “Dear F., I like your name. You must be smart…The school I go to is a good…

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Oct 21 2011

My mom is the best.

We were only in school for 3 days this week, and because my mom’s school is in the middle of their 2-week fall break, she came up to visit and help out in my classroom.  I don’t know what else to say other than it has been AWESOME. Having another person in the room all…

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Oct 09 2011

I really can’t make this stuff up.

Please wish me luck:   Starting on Monday, my 9 best-behaved students are being moved into a new 6th grade section for more “independent” students. And I’m getting 4 new students from the other 6th grade section, who I know nothing about. And the daily schedule is changing for half the school. And none of…

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Oct 06 2011

Fact or Opinion?

We’re working on distinguishing facts from opinions in Language Arts this week.  Today each student was supposed to write a paragraph, on a topic of their choice, that included at least 2 factual statements and 1 statement of opinion. After I collected their paragraphs, I read some of the best examples to the class, and we decided…

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Oct 04 2011

Friday 5 Minute Free Write

“I want the class to be quiet while the teacher is talking. And not throw paper airplanes back and forth. So we can grow a half and a year of reading and math. And its really hard to hear you when other people are talking. And we can’t even get to the fun stuff. And…

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Sep 30 2011

Reasons why teaching is a lot like journalism

My kids have picked up on the fact that I have a thing for newspapers.  Maybe that’s because I’m constantly bringing in clipped out articles to share with them at the start of the day, and I talk about each one as if it was the most exciting discovery I’ve made in weeks.  Whether they’re…

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Sep 21 2011

Things that I wish would go away, please.

-Spitballs. So. many. spitballs. All over my stuff. On my desk. On many of my children and their desks. Everywhere on the floor. And yep, I took one to the back of my head and it got stuck in my hair. It must be some obscure law of the universe that I will never be…

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1 week into teaching and all the complaints and frustrations I’ve ever heard are now making so much more sense.  To sum up the week in one sentence:  I have no idea what I’m doing and my classroom is scarily close to out of control. But, there were some brief moments when things just clicked,…

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Aug 30 2011

Charter schools & lying sixth graders

After what feels like a year’s worth of unpaid labor to TFA, I finally started working for money today- no students yet, but we have a week of professional development (aka meetings, team building activities and even some classroom set-up time).  I’m teaching 6th grade at a K-12 charter school where about 99% of students…

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Aug 09 2011

High blood pressure

If I can say one thing definitively about what TFA has done to my life, it’s that it has completely warped my concept of time– both in terms of how much I consider reasonable to pack into one day, and in how quickly the days pass.  It’s bizarre to think that we’ve been done with…

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Jul 21 2011

2 days to go!

A quick update during the last week of Institute… Stuff my students have said: -Student: “Ms. S., if I told you the name of an African-American person and you didn’t know who it was, would you be upset?” Me:  “We’re doing math problems right now. I have no idea what your question means, but it…

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Jul 17 2011

Do you speak TFA?

I’m legitimately concerned that when Chicago Institute is over in a week and corps members are released back into the “real world,” most of us will have trouble interacting with normal (non-TFA) people. The reason for my concern is that probably every single one of the conversations I’ve had with other corps members during the…

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Jul 14 2011

Multiplying fractions, y’all

This week has been pretty crazy for a wide variety of reasons. Reason #1 being, the students have been majorly struggling with both my math lessons and those of my co-teacher. Today we realized that our students can’t compute the area of a triangle because they can’t correctly multiply with decimals. They can’t correctly multiply…

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Jul 14 2011

The danger of interesting word problems

(written 2 days ago) Our “orderly” classroom devolved into a heated debate over the merits of Beyonce and Jay-Z today…but it was totally my fault. I started teaching sixth grade math today and our first objective was “extending patterns in data tables.” Thrilling. I decided to make all of our practice and assessment problems related…

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Jul 08 2011

I’m already ignoring the title of my blog…

…but I wrote this post last week and never actually hit ‘publish.’   I wrote this up mostly so that I can look back fondly on Institute someday and cherish the time I spent here. (And by “look back fondly” I mean, “remember how much life sucked and take comfort in the fact that it…

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Jul 08 2011

“Oh I’m just talking to my essay”

Based on the minuscule amount of free time I’ve had during my first few weeks as a teacher, I think it’s  a safe bet that this blog will end up being mostly a great place to post the funniest things my students say. I’m learning pretty quickly that their priceless quotes are one of the greatest perks…

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

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