The Ballerina Mathematician

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 05 2012

One of Those Days

Today was one of those days.  The days that I used to have in my first year, when I came home crying and feeling hopeless.  The days where my lesson was terrible and no one learned, even after I re-wrote it the night before (staying up late planning is something I had banished all this year) and then fixed it again in the middle of the day and it still didn’t work out.  The days where I get so upset over the future of my students and what kind of effect I’ve had on them.  I’m not changing their lives – or if I am it’s not enough.  It’s unfair what they have to deal with.  It’s not fair that they should be expected to succeed at this school and in this system and with the craziness affecting them outside of school.  But it’s too much for me to change all that for every single student.  There are 110 kids, each with a totally different set of needs and issues and background knowledge and goals and motivations.

In my second year of teaching I haven’t been upset like this.  I haven’t felt the crushing weight of the achievement gap, my own failings and my extreme frustrations with this school and this system.  Yet twice this week I’ve come home and not been able to work – dead and only capable of zoning out.  Today is that day.  I feel guilty when this happens, because I know there’s work to be done, but it’s just not possible.  I hate this feeling.

On a positive note, I’m looking forward to next year because I’ve been offered a job.  I’m moving back to Texas and I’ll be working at an amazing school full of inspiring, supportive, friendly adults and hard-working, happy, amazing students.  Same population of students, just in a functioning, well-established and consistent environment.  Perhaps more important than anything else, I’m going to get a ton of support and development as a teacher.  I can’t wait, because there’s so much I can learn.  So I’ll end on that note and expand on this decision later, since there’s definitely more to it.

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    a dancer's adventure in teaching math

    Middle School

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