Wayward Journalist

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 10 2013

The final countdown

Spring break has begun!

But more importantly (since if not for my job, I wouldn’t actually have a spring break), it’s test time in Texas schools, and the test that my students will take is about ten-or-so class days away. There’s been a lot of tension going into this past week, so the break is much, much needed.

The good:

  • STAAR scores from last year are in. Students who scored in the “advanced” category are great kids who deserve it.
  • Recycled probably 20 reams worth of old handouts and papers (a big deal, since the nearest recycling center is 1.5 hours from my placement school).
  • Got to meet with the two alternative spring break trips from my college that came to do community service and learn about the Brownsville and McAllen areas. So exciting to feel like I was back in college… for a hour or two, at least.
  • Received effective classroom design tips from Pinterest.
  • My kids continue to be awesome, hard workers (well, as hard as can be expected when every other class is a free period).

The bad:

  • Not as many kids scored “advanced” on last year’s STAAR as I was expecting (see above).
  • Due to communication issues, 40-page benchmark tests for Monday were run-off on Friday afternoon, so the copy lady and I are no longer friends.
  • Nearly killed on the way to work once this week, since I drive on a 60-mph highway with side streets; said side streets are full of country bumpkins who don’t think twice before pulling out. Nearly hit two other times.
  • After running out of breakfast food at my house, I learned the wrong way that the Dough Brothers Bakery pastries from Stripes¬†will not only fill you up for breakfast, but they will give you over half a day of fat and calories, so you had better not be hungry until dinner.

The ugly:

  • “We’re having a dance”… “We’re opening the school snack bar”… “Track students report to the gym”… “Go to period X instead of lunch”… “Band students report to the busses”…
  • It’s been pretty much impossible to teach anything this week. And that normally wouldn’t be a big deal in the days before spring break, but the state test is right around the corner. I don’t teach to the test. But at the moment, I feel like I’m taking state testing more seriously than the administration at my school.

It’s sort of crazy to think that I have under three months left of employment with my placement district. It’ll be smooth sailing and a great project to close the year soon, but for now, the heat is on.

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    Houston Institute '11 alum. Now a rural E/LA teacher.


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