Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 16 2011

“I can pass the ECA, can’t I?”

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”- Douglas Noel Adams

If you know me, you know I love quotes. I especially love the above quote from Douglas Adams. I am beginning to very much feel this way about ending up at my school versus a middle or high school, or heck a school with any sort of kids! :) Today was the kind of day that I would have complained and probably cried about a few months ago. Instead I called my mom on my way home to tell her about the moments of greatness full of hope. Reasons why today was a great day:

1. At the very end of the day, I was working with one of my students (I’ll call her M) on solving linear equations with variables on both sides. We did 2 examples together, and then she did 3 absolutely perfect on her own. I asked her if she wanted to try today’s ECA (End of Course Assessment… students take this exam at the end of Algebra 1) challenge question- being the persistent student she is she said yes. This “challenge” question was EXACTLY the same as the problems she just did on her own (just different numbers). She struggled through the problem, but kept going as I talked her through it. She finished, and I pointed out the problem was no different than the ones she did before. She realized, and told me it was hearing ECA that made her nervous and then said, “I can do this Miss B. I can pass the ECA, can’t I?” My response, “Heck yeah you can!”

2. My school recently invested in a math intervention program call iPass (I’m obsessed. If you want details, leave a comment.). The rep from the company was at my school today for a meeting and he looked at my data and told me one of my student’s (I’ll call him R) data is really remarkable for the short amount of time he’s been on the program. R is kicking some serious butt at this program. He spends between 2-4 hours a day working on (it’s an online program). His dedication and enthusiasm to learn makes me want to be the very best teacher I can be for him. He works at a bar/restaurant near my house. I went in with my roommates and friends to eat dinner a few weeks ago. He was working, so I was able to introduce him to some of my friends. I introduced him as one of my best students… the smile on his face was HUGE. The next day in class there was a huge stack of unsharpened pencils on my desk. I asked my class if anyone saw them put them on my desk. R’s smiled and responded, “I thought you might need some.” ¬†Could be any sweeter? This is the 3rd student to bring me pencils. Have I mentioned how sweet and thoughtful my students are?

3. We bring in new students every Friday, so the following Monday/Tuesday is like the 1st day of school all over again… fun fun! My new students this week are blowing me away. The student I mentioned earlier, M’s sister started this week. Her sister is just as amazing and hard working as she is. It’s so amazing to watch M show her sister around school and give her advice about how to succeed (she attests it all to being focused and working hard!). A few of my other students this week came straight from our partner high school and had TFA corps members as math teachers.

Even if every part of the day wasn’t perfect (trust me… it wasn’t), it was still a great day. I am really glad that I’m getting to the point where I can see the day for all the great parts and not focus on the negatives.

Not only do I love quotes, but I really love math YouTube videos. Check this one out: #mce_temp_url After you watch it, just TRY to tell me you aren’t singing it to yourself!

I recently put up trackers in my classroom. At the beginning of the year I wasn’t sure if my adult students would respond positively to this. Boy was I wrong. Gold stars are becoming a big deal in my classroom. I attached a photo of my new trackers. It shows students all the lessons they must master in order to earn 1 credit. My students who are in the math intervention program are not working towards math credits, but rather an elective credit for math lab. A few of them have asked why their name isn’t up there and they aren’t getting ¬†stars. I want to create a tracker for them also. But I don’t know if I should put the skills at the top since it will be pretty low (as counting to 100). Any advice?

One Response

  1. I’d love to hear more about this iPass thing! I’m scheduled to teach middle school math in Memphis next year and I’d love to know about this program in case I think it will be useful to my students :)

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A first year math teacher in Indianapolis

Middle School

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