My Journey In the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 12 2011


I’m exhausted.  Week 6 is here.. doesn’t that mean that this is over?  Oh wait — thats right, institute was only for the summer!

It is week 6 and dare I say, my students are getting it.  When we walk in the hallway, they walk in the second block from the wall, when we go to the carpet they sit with their hands folded, when we go to lunch they are actually eating, when we are in centers they are actually working. WEIRD.

My students have already grown so much so quickly that it is crazy to think where we will be in another 6 weeks and especially where we will be in 6 months.  We are learning math completely in Spanish and are able to count to 60 in Spanish (with some help!)

We are over half way through the alphabet with learning to write our letters and be able to say the sounds that the letters make!  We have taken our first unit test, and all but 3 of my students got 80%.  I know that I am doing my best, but I also know that it just feels like it is enough sometimes.  I have only taught science once (today) and I have yet to teach social studies.  I have my TFA long term plans that say that I need to be doing these things and I have planned to do them, but the problem is that they are not able to fit into my schedule.  I haven’t yet started to teach Spanish language arts, and that is one thing that I am absolutely suppose to be doing.

One step at a time.

I don’t want to come off as everything is fine and amazing and wonderful though.  This is hard, so hard.  Teaching is nothing compared to when I was student teaching.  There are so many things that go into the day to day of teaching that I can’t even think of until someone else mentions them.. half the time my principal comes around to find things that we are suppose to have in our classes and well.. I don’t have them.  Part of that is because I was never told I need them, and the other part is that I knew that I needed them but just hadn’t had the time to do them.

But there are definitely positives!  My students are starting to share more of their personal lives, and a few even cried when I told them I was going to have to leave them for a few days to make a last minute trip back to Iowa.  I have an amazing aid who is all about learning how to speak Spanish right along with my kids, and is all about getting all of our kids right into 1st grade so prepared.  My kids are learning, which I’m reminded of each day in different ways.

Also, I would like to put in a shameless plug for my Donors Choose project :) my students really need a listening center so that they can hear stories read to them in both English and Spanish.. you can follow this link to find out more information.  Every single dollar helps :)

This weeks goal:

Use more positive reinforcement — it REALLY REALLY REALLY does work.. at least in elementary school.

Funny kid quotes:

“Ms. Ballin’ it be so cold out here I’m going to freeze like an ice box!”  – in reference to recess on a day that was about 75.

Me:  Good morning!

Kinder: ..dirty look..

Me: Good morning!

Kinder:  Buenos días Ms. Ballin’ don’t you know we be speaking Spanish up in here!

“I just love to preach, I be preachin’ all the time.. like ya know, “for God so loved the world!”

3 Responses

  1. Rob Robbins

    Think back. How would you feel if you were the child being thrust into this system? You’re taking pride in turning children into obedient, cooperative, compliant things who follow your every command. They have no choices, no control, and no freedom. It’s very similar to jail.

    I understand that the system requires this kind of transformation in order to keep things under control, but maybe the system is bogus.

  2. Miss B

    Well we are all products of this. From the time we are born we are molded into working with a schedule and by the rules of other people. It is no different than the rules and procedures that we had as kids that were set out by our parents before we even experienced school.

    Students need to learn these rules and procedures to find their way through school. My students still have tons of choices during the day. They choose the books that they are looking at, the things that they are writing about, and their centers have choice in them.

    Without teaching procedures and structure at this point in life, it will take longer to adjust to it later in life. Everything that we do in life has a procedure and rules in it. It has actually been found that students work better with structure, especially when it comes to students with autism. If you mess up a schedule for students they can get very nervous because we all cling to things being the same each day.

    Procedures are implemented in every thing that we do in life, when my students get older and get into the workforce there will be rules and procedures that they MUST comply to because there the consequences will be larger than having their clip moved on the clip stick. There they will have serious consequences that will affect their lives if they do not comply with them.

    I don’t understand how school or anything would run smoothly and things would get done without this “system.”

  3. Kurt (Community Manager)

    Congratulations! Your post has been featured on the Teach For Us homepage.

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About this Blog

Trials and tribulations of teaching in the Delta

Mississippi Delta
Elementary School
Foreign Language

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