The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 03 2012

Crazy Train

Day 21: Nothing went badly today. First and second period were solid, my fourth period class moved at what felt like light speed, and my eighth period class overcame the dreaded end-of-day doldrums long enough to average a 94 percent on their exit tickets. Hiccups were few and far between, and even then I reacted exactly as I wanted to. I have zero desire to see my kids in trouble, but it was really satisfying to end my day by showing a student with a penchant for lost focus that we really could have his mom in a conference room for a meeting with eight minutes.

By the end of the day, though, I felt crazed. I was juggling four students trying to retake quizzes, another two looking for people to tutor, a student to whom I needed to re-teach a lesson, a student who was going to write me a plan to get on student council, a student who wanted to be helpful but couldn’t seem to figure out that I didn’t have time to help her be helpful, and a student who for some reason very much wanted me to see her new tablet.

Eventually, I lied and said I had a meeting in the school’s conference room. I made the mistake of leaving this room twice. The first time, three girls started to ask me about what we were doing in Science for the rest of the week, what their grades were, which was my favorite member of One Direction … you get the idea. The second time, a brother-and-sister pair asked me if I needed help with my turtles. I neglected to tell them that if I had a shell to withdraw within, I would be doing so at the time.

To summarize all of this in thoroughly un-shocking fashion, I’m tired. This is made worse by the fact that this seems like tired I could have prevented. I could have chosen one day to let kids re-take quizzes. I could have gone to bed earlier the night before. Hell, I could have run away from homework lab and made up a last-minute teacher meeting about bathroom graffiti that demanded my immediate attention. But I had done none of these things, and as a result, any successes from today seem overshadowed by the fact that my eyes are drooping as I write this sentence.

A tired teacher is not going to be an effective teacher. My goal for the rest of this week is to figure out how to tap the brakes before I become a runaway crazy train.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
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