Sara in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 31 2008

Exuberance, Potential, and Teaching Without Ms. G-Baby

School has been in session for a total of 80 hours, and I have written two office referrals: one for swearing (“The ‘f’ dash dash dash word!” – A Christmas Story), and one for verbally threatening a classmate (“I’m going to choke you!”).

That’s all.

No blatant disrespect.

No walking out of the classroom without permission.

No furniture-rearranging fist fights.

I am, of course, waiting for the other shoe to drop, but so far my students’ biggest collective behavioral flaw this year is exuberance: they like to interact with me and forget to raise their hands, they fight to answer my questions first, and they actually fear the words “please wait for me in the hallway.”

I can work with that.

It’s actually a little unsettling, having their undivided attention. I remember one of my favorite BDHS teachers pulling me aside junior year and saying “I know that I actually have to know my stuff in class because you’re always so focused on the lecture,” and while it’s kind of cool that I understand what he meant now, I’m also slightly freaked out that I’m going to waste the potential the students are finally allowing me to see.

So far, I seem to be challenging them at the very least; one of my Pre-AP girls followed me down the hall after school on Friday complaining loudly that I’m “going to make English so hard this year.” (Earlier that day, I’d let the bomb drop that they would have to write a 5-6 page research paper during the last nine weeks of school, despite the fact that they’ve only ever written five-paragraph essays. They can handle it, they just don’t realize it yet.) But setting goals is the easy part. Making sure that each kid actually has a chance at achieving those goals, that’s another story.

Thankfully, most of the second year teachers across the Delta seem to be experiencing the same lack of discipline problems at the moment, which is pretty cool. As a whole, we’re starting to think about life beyond the Delta, but I’ve never been more convinced that I want to stay at least an extra year. The idea of teaching a solidly planned year of English III to kids I’ve grown to enjoy so much is far too tempting…plus, I think after three years, I might actually be able to decide what I want to do next. I’m almost certain that my next and future careers will be in the field of education; the idea of pursuing an advanced degree in lit studies just doesn’t excite me anymore.

I’m already starting to dread watching my TFA friends leave the Delta in spring. Ms. G-Baby is teaching at a different school this year thanks to a yet another ludicrous move by our administration, and as much as I’m enjoying my students this year, it’s not the same without my first-year war buddy. Our daily debriefs last year gave me something to look forward to at 3:15 PM aside from going home to plan some more. Thankfully, having one year of experience under my belt has cut down my planning time significantly, but I think it was good for the kids to see our friendship every day. We didn’t fight or talk behind each others’ backs, and the students who had both of us knew that if they acted up in one class, they’d hear about it in the other. I miss teaching with her, and the kids miss her, too.

On that upbeat note, I think I need to cut this post short today. I’m just not in the right frame of mind to share any truly humorous anecdotes from the first few weeks of school, so I’ll work on that for next time.

Love to you all, especially Mama Ms. G-Baby who demanded a post for Labor Day! :)

5 Responses

  1. Ms. G-Baby

    oh…i miss teaching with you too. but i love hearing about the kids.

    see you in a few hours!

  2. Mama Ms G- Baby

    Hi Sara,

    Thanks so much for updating, you made my weekend! I am glad to hear this year has started out well. On a sad note I do wish you and Ms G-Baby were teaching together, I know she misses LV too. On a happy note good friends will always be good friends. Keep up the good work you are doing, I look forward to following you for another year.

    Love to all,

    Mama Ms G-Baby

  3. Mom

    I hope this past week went as well as the first 2 weeks – I think I’ve always been convinced that your career would be in education. I think it’s a perfect fit. You always loved school and were bored with summer vacation by the beginning of July. Hopefully the weather has calmed down a bit from last weekend. Miss you!


  4. Aunt Marcy

    Hey Sara,

    I don’t have your e-mail address so I wanted to let you know that I received your voice message, but totally forgot to try and call you back. I JUST remembered, while I was looking for your address…I think someone’s birthday is right around the corner!!!!!!
    Thanks for the call and hope we can talk soon.
    Sounds like the school year is going well and that you are now become a seasoned teacher.
    Take care and Happy Birthday!

  5. Susan Eggold

    Hi Sara! It was great to read your August post. Hope things continue to go well. I’m convinced that in addition to your gifts in teaching, there is a book in you somewhere as well. You certainly have a gift with words.

    Take care!


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