Sunday, August 27, 2006


The first-years had their first fall Saturday class yesterday.

For the most part they seem to be doing well. I think most of them are surprised at how tiring teaching is. As I’ve written before, teaching in a critical-needs district is an overwhelming experience. It is exhausting: emotionally, physically, and mentally.

Several of the teachers were surprised at how normal the kids seemed. After two months of hearing how poor the Delta is, how third-world it is, some teachers remarked that they didn’t get the sense of that from their students.

A couple of teachers are really struggling with management. We do a lot of mentoring, using the second-years, and this really helped last year. As a teacher, until you get classroom management down, your life is miserable.

Ashley Johnson had the best story, though, of the first weeks of teaching. She has a no-bathroom policy in her classroom. She did such a good job of enforcing it that one of her tougher eighth-graders approached her as they were walking to lunch, with a huge wet-spot on his pants, and said,, “Ms. Johnson. I busted my juice box.” It was only after Ashley started wiping up the “juice” on the floor, feeling how warm it was, that she realized it was something else…

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