A Mosaic In Progress

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 04 2013

“I Want to Go to Duke”

I’ll be the first to admit that I probably let my kids get away with more than what is advised to any teacher. I don’t mean that I let them get away with cheating or fighting but the “white noise,” an extra bathroom break, or periodic episodes of shenanigans … yeah that happens in my class. As the blog is so appropriately named, I’m still a work in progress =).

Students tend to leave things when they go to lunch and then come back to get it. Backpacks, basketball bags, and there was even one huge English project that occupied my table at one time. I have noticed that perhaps they weren’t suppose to be leaving the cafeteria to begin with but some of the sweetest moments take place during that time. KK stopping in and chiming, “You know … you look really happy today. We all thought you were really angry in the morning for some reason. Then there was the time that BH, HB, and HA walked into my room in the middle of a conversation with my youth pastor from back home. I decided to put him on speaker phone. He asked the three students, “So do you like Mr. L as a teacher?” HB of course would say something to the effect of “Oh he is such a bad teacher! He never lets us do anything.”  BH just laughed and said, “Mr. L is my favorite math teacher!” Very sweet thing to say =).

That was all before break. Today was the first day back for my school. I must say it was hard to get back to my teacher self. My 7th graders were definitely not ready to see equations … “You’re not making any sense!” was a frequent comment I heard. The 8th graders were somewhat excited to know that we’re starting the semester with a project … but they tried to take advantage of the fact that I would cut them some slack in behavior. One student was dead wrong! Anyway, the after-lunch visit back to Mr. L’s room was interesting to say the least. “I reeeeeeally need candy … they had fish sticks and black eyed peas today,” said TB. Yeah, that didn’t happen. BH was another visitor but instead of picking up her things she decided to leave another bag in the room with me. I guess an added excuse to return to my classroom … or maybe she’s just taking advantage of the storage space.

Last period of the day was a complete mess … literally. One of my students knocked over a full cup of beans. Someone tracked in mud. And the team building activity left me trying to pick off tape from building materials. I start removing pieces of tape from my straws when I noticed that BH comes in and does the same thing. What a mundane task but she keeps doing it and with a smile. She was even talking to her grandma on the phone too. We get to the usual student-teacher chit-chat but it never occurred to me that I didn’t know that much about BH.

Today was not a great day by any means. First day back from break and you can imagine that everyone was exhausted. I was a wreck. It wasn’t a complete loss though because I learned a few things about one student. BH really wants to go to Duke. She was reminded of the school’s colors and how the blue and white resembles our school colors. She also noticed that her favorite football team – the Dallas Cowboys – had the same colors. When I corrected her by saying that the Cowboys had grey in their logo, she retorted, “Hey, it’s like a darker shade of white!” Maybe her new reading glasses will change her statement. It’s a lofty goal for anyone let alone a student in a small school in Arkansas. She’s probably still too young to think of the obstacles and work that’s necessary. At least I know BH is smart enough.


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    Midwesterner being thankful for every written experience … even when it hurts =)

    Mississippi Delta
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