The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 23 2012

Happy Holidays, and Happy Break Time

Day 73: There were a few small signs that kids were ready for break. We have a call-and-response chant in my classroom – Work Hard, Get Smart – that saw “Get Smart” replaced by “Eat Chicken” and “Play Hard” in two classes. Plus general apathy toward learning and some serious whining about the four pages of winter break homework I assigned.

However, by and large, it was an uneventful final day before break. Kids still did their work. Kids still stayed on task (mostly). Kids still came in silently, and stayed silent when they were supposed to. In general, kids still showed they were ready to work and be on their game in my class.

Beyond teaching, I had almost forgotten how much stuff you get for the holidays. I am now the proud owner of gift cards to Amazon, iTunes and Dunkin’ Donuts (particularly useful), enough chocolate to last me until June, two new ties, a wallet and tea light holders. Kids are the cutest.

What gave me the most faith before break, however, were some moments with my homeroom. As I’ve written, my homeroom is the most skeptical of my corny, investment-driven style to teaching. They give fewer props, they track less, and generally maintain a steady air of aloofness.

And yet, I had a great moment with nearly all of them on Friday. JT, who complained she didn’t want to be in my homeroom on Wednesday because I yell at her, wrote me a note thanking me for always showing her respect and teaching her to never give up. Even AM gave me a Christmas card (missing the “L” in my last name, but whatever) and shook my hand to say goodbye.

When all was said and done, and the game of freeze dance clean up ensured there were no more cupcake wrappers around the room, my kids left for break happy. My room is clean, JP is taking care of the turtles, I kept only the minimum to grade, and now I’m safely in my parents’ house in New York. Happy break to me; I think I’ve earned it.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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