Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 18 2011

Find Something Good

I’ve mentioned before what an impact the summit was for me. If you weren’t able to go, there are so many great videos from the weekend. One in particular that I really took to heart was Camika Royal’s response to “What Role Will You Play”. You can watch it here: Camika Royal Video In this video she says, “Find something good… Look for it, wait for it, insist on it…”

FIND SOMETHING GOOD. 3 simple words that hold so much power.

Often times finding something good in every situation and every person seems impossible. But it isn’t. There is always something good. Until recently, I was just finding something bad. I was focusing on the bad aspects of my job. I wallowed in those bad aspects. I was beginning to turn into a person that I didn’t recognize. I am cheerful, optimistic, and positive. I smile, a lot (thanks mom for the braces!)… that’s who I am. I wasn’t smiling and I certainly wasn’t cheerful, optimistic, or positive. Thankfully, I’ve been getting back to myself these past few weeks. I can tell I’m in a much better place because I’m not longer grinding my teeth. It’s strange what kind of physical symptoms appear when you’re really stressed out. Mine was grinding my teeth to the point my jaw hurt and I had a horrible headache. I was waking up with headaches, and always had one by the end of the day.

Students who I use to view as difficult, I’m viewing as an opportunity to increase my patience level. One student in particular who was impulsive and often times incredibly disrespectful has made huge progress in my class recently. Yesterday while he was working diligently he said, “Miss Brennen, I don’t want to say I like it. But I do. I can do this stuff!”. He said he LIKED math. The fact that he didn’t call math stupid or a waste of time or throw a temper tantrum (not flattering on a 21 year old young man) is a big deal. But the fact that he said he LIKED it…. like WHOA. Big freaking deal. He stayed for an extra class period that night, and the other student in the class started complaining that he wanted me all to himself (he’s typically in the class with just me- talk about a small class!). This same student comes in my classroom every day and says “Hi my favorite teacher ever”. I’m still trying to figure out what I did that was so wonderful. :)

Highlights of today:

  1. I gave my students in math lab a goal setting sheet for all the units they were responsible for accomplishing in order to move into Algebra 1. One of my students who doesn’t talk very much told me before she left how great she glad she was that I gave her it and how she knows exactly where she is going now.
  2. One my students e-mailed me today to tell me he wouldn’t be in class. He ended the e-mail with “P.S. Go to Chuck-E-Cheese TODAY!!!!” Is it bad that I’ve agreed to go to Chuck-E-Cheese with him when he earns his first math credit? Did I mentioned he’s 19? He is convinced I was deprived a childhood because I’ve never been.
  3. Last night one of my students earned his second math credit in less than 3 months. He was taking the 1st semester of Geometry & Algebra 2 at the same time. We’re planning a college visit for April. :)
  4. I had over half of my students today stay for an extra class period to catch up on work and get more help.

On a more personal note, my roommates and I are dog sitting this week. An adorable miniature dachshund named Luna is great therapy. I think the Indy corps needs to have a dog that we can all take care of and get in some quality puppy therapy with. :) I highly recommend it.

One Response

  1. Amelia1

    hearing a student say they “like” your subject must be the BEST feeling!

    I thought of this entry re: college visits


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A first year math teacher in Indianapolis

Middle School

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