Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Back to school! Back to school, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool! I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight!"

This year is going to be challenging but so wonderful. Here's the news on my class after the first two days.

I have one student who on Day 1 at snack time put a glue stick in her mouth--I had to pry it out. I did not give my students gluesticks...

Today, my co-teacher had to hold back the same girl so she would not hurt herself--she was kicking and screaming on the floor, trying to pull a chair onto herself. We were able to calm her down, but then she got upset again, and my co-teacher took all the other students out to the playground while I took 15 minutes to calm her down. I think she's scared and doesn't trust us yet--it's only been two days so we are just going to work very hard to make her feel safe here. She told me that she is ugly and doesn't have friends. Another student told me she put a crayon in her mouth, and my co-teacher saw her put a manipulative in her mouth. I've already been told to start taking notes and documenting all this.

I know it's nothing out of the ordinary for a TFA Corps member to face these challenges, and yesterday I was upset, because even though my day didn't go that terribly, I just felt that overwhelming need of my students and all that I need to do. I want our class to be safe and filled with learning, and I feel that I definitely have a lot to do to get there. I feel so much better today though, because while it's going to be hard to get there, my co-teacher and I are going to plan together so that we can basically tag-team if need be if I have a student who needs to be removed or needs one-on-one attention. Plus, I have parents interested in volunteering, and so I am going to meet with them and try to get at least one parent in a day.

So that's the long and short of it. I have a lot on my plate for the next year, but I am feeling a lot better after talking with my principal and co-teacher. Though I may need to do a lot of the hard work all by myself, I feel very supported, which is quite a relief.

...and all of this is why I am convinced that pre-k is VITAL to a child's life and why whether in the near future or far future I plan to open my own preschools for children in low-income areas. However, those big goals will have to wait, and right now I am ready and prepared to work my butt off for my kids.

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