The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 10 2013

Reason To Smile

Day 133: Today, for the first time in what feels like forever, I was really, really happy at school. 6A was so calm cleaning out their binders that I was able to take a music request (Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us”). 6D was entirely on task during the classification lab, even my been-slipping-lately boys.

The real pick-me-up was 6C. Over the last two months, I’ve adopted an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach. I’ve seen that given the personalities in the room, controlling class with an iron grip – or at least that’s what some of my girls would say – is a quick way to alienate students. Instead, I’ve been strategically loosening my structures where I can to allow greater investment while also maintaining high expectations.

Today, I could see all of that adapting and calibrating finally working. When someone shouted out, I responded with humor, and not with a terse warning. I celebrated the class’ focus during the Do Now and start of the period. I had a solid third of the class raising their hands to participate, including the long-time (but not so much anymore) me-haters AM and AC. During the lab, everyone was on task and got their work done.

From that point on, everything just seemed to be clicking. For the first time, all three of my student council committees made progress. I was called on to sub last-minute for music, so of course, I taught the fourth graders how to beatbox and then took them out to recess. And 6B got into the test debrief lesson, specifically seeing how much better they did than 8th graders across the state on recent MCAS exams.

I honestly have no idea where the positivity came from. It’s not like I’m rested. I’m guessing it’s a combination of the weather – finally over 60 degrees! – and knowing I’m only a few days from spring break. Regardless, I’ll take it. It’s nice to still be smiling at the end of the day.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
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