The Ballerina Mathematician

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 04 2011

Teacher Rules

  • Don’t yell
  • Don’t talk too much
  • Be FUN!
  • Don’t chew gum
  • Be prepared
  • Wear the dress code with us
  • Don’t use your cell phone during class
  • Don’t use your computer (unless it’s an emergency)
  • Be organized
  • Treat us fair
  • Let us sit wherever we want
  • Don’t touch us without asking
  • Don’t lie
  • Be creative
  • If you get mad at one student don’t take it out on the whole class
  • Be patient

As an activity for the first week of school (almost a month ago now) I had my students write rules for me.  I had been bombarding them with procedures and structures and rules and rewards and I thought they’d have fun giving me my own rules!  I loved what they wrote because they’re right in so many ways.

The magic of the second year has definitely been apparent in my classroom, along with the magic of a new administration.  For me the biggest difference is simply in my attitude.  I love teaching!  I’m happy to see my students, and find joy in each teaching period.  It’s my off periods that are stressful as I try to accomplish too many tasks in not-enough time.  Overall I feel 100% better about myself as a teacher in terms of instruction, management, investment, and ability to stay calm and positive.  There’s still miles of room to grow, but I’m more on top of and confident about everything.

Another thing I’m thinking about (an inevitability as a second year) is what to do after this year.  On one hand I don’t want to stop teaching math since it would be such a waste of all the materials I’ve made and hard work I’ve put in for the content area.  I wouldn’t mind teaching 8th grade algebra for a third year and getting it down better.  However, I also don’t want to waste any more time waiting to accomplish my goals!  It’s intimidating to think about trying to start a dance program in a low-income public school, so filling an already-existing dance teacher position is likely to be step one if I can make it happen.  There are many possibilities for next year! However, right now most of my energy is focusing on becoming the best teacher I can for my current students.  Those kids are great.

Also, Teach Like A Champion is AMAZING.  I wouldn’t have been able to absorb it last year but taking time this summer was the perfect chance to really consider things and start the year off right!

One Response

  1. That’s so cool that you had your students write rules for you! Great idea! I wish my second year were going as great as yours. I wanted to add a rule to your list, which is the main rule I have for myself: Don’t promise or threaten anything that I can’t deliver on.

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a dancer's adventure in teaching math

Middle School

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