Danya in Dallas

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 18 2012

Institute, Day 8: First Things First

Today was my first day of teaching!

I finally got to meet my students, and taught them about expository essays (both sequential and compare and contrast). I used fresh oranges as a prop to get my students to start thinking about sequential writing (explain how to eat an orange!), but it ended up backfiring on me when my students’ hands got sticky and it became more of a distraction than a focusing tool. I finished the lesson way early and struggled to make sure that students were on task and really paying attention and working through the information. My reviewers said that they liked a lot of the things that I did, but pointed out many areas in which I still have a long ways to go. I didn’t really get to introduce myself to them today because I was making sure I could get things in order, but I did have them play “two truths and a lie,” in which I gave them the following sentences:
1. I have participated in the largest scavenger hunt in the world.
2. My favorite meal is a barbecue bacon cheeseburgers.
3. My favorite movie is Casablanca*
*It’s actually The Passion of Joan of Arc, but I figured that would take long to explain, and that Casablanca might be something they’re more familiar with – but they weren’t.
Most found it impossible that I would have participated in the largest scavenger hunt in the world, and that it was most likely that my favorite meal is a barbecue bacon cheeseburger. It looks like they have a lot to learn about their teacher, and I have even more to learn about them!
As another way to introduce myself, I decorated the outside of my classroom with a few things that I thought represented me:
Three flags: Mexico, Israel, California (places I identify with)
A bust of Plato (representing philosophy as a whole – problematic, I know)
Wheat and roses (representing one of my favorite songs, “Bread and Roses”)
A seal of the University of Chicago (at this point I wonder if they know there are any other colleges!)
A chili pepper (indicated that I love spicy food!)
An anchor (representing hope, stability, and my love for the sea!)
A baseball with the logo of my poor, poor San Diego Padres (a plea for sympathy from fellow baseball fans).
Anyways, I am exhausted from my first class, and pretty scared, to be honest, of the prospect that I might fail to give my students the education and preparation for the next grade that they deserve. While I am aware that I have certain strengths as a teacher (being creative, having an engaging teacher demeanor/voice), my critical weaknesses lie in being organized, maintaining classroom order (as much as I enjoy a certain degree of ‘disorder’ in my ranks), and balancing time between students according to their needs. I will need to work diligently in the next few weeks to get into proper teaching shape.
The mic check was a success!

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Crescat scientia; vita excolatur!

Dallas-Fort Worth
Elementary School
Elementary Education

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