This time last year
Now I am not there. I am in Chicago. But one year ago was the start of what was, at that point, the hardest thing I’d ever done. Saying goodbye to D.C., quitting one job without another, praying that life really was waiting for me somewhere else, sleeping on Amanda and Charlie’s floor, getting hired at the Jewish Federation, being scared out of my wits in improv classes. Now. Here I am. I am not there. I am here.
I’m wide awake. It’s morning.
Since last we spoke, I have:
–Had beer with the staff at my new school (well, at a pub, not at the school)
–Spent an excellent day with Matt wandering Evanston (saw deli folk) and lounging outside a coffee shop reading Harry Potter
–Spent a day in an artsy Bucktown cafe, working and gleaning any bits of wisdom from teacher folk who are at charter schools that have already begun
–Created a to-do list
–Realized that I have been slow at finishing things lately lately because i don’t yet feel qualified to make decisions about x, y, or z, but that really — if I don’t, who will? It’s up to me. Who’s the boss? Tony Danza? No. Me. My bathroom policy, water fountain policy, homework policy, lateness policy…. those all belong to me and me alone.
–Made cookies that sort of look like breasts (to clarify: chocolate chip cookies with Hershey’s Ksses in the middle)
–Freaked out (about the new job, not the cookies)
Latest news! Latest news! i have taken very kindly to the idea of the snooze! I’ve been sleeping in the mornings, I’ve been sleeping in the eve., I’ve been sleeping when the sun goes up and when it starts to leave. I’ve been sleeping as I brush my teeth or try to read a book, I’ve been sleeping when I’m cooking; a risk I maybe shouldn’t have took. I’ve been sleeping on my bicycle, another danger still, I’ve been sleeping everywhere I can and everywhere, I will.
The Proprietress of this Blog
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the women and men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Wisdom of the Sands
Today = Enlightening
Visted: My new school
Met: English teacher who knows what’s up
Conversation = Info-packed; reassuring
Helped with: Scavenger hunt
Met: Lillian, awesome 12th-grade aspiring actress
Conversation = Inspiring
Current headache results from: Knowing how much work I have to do
Work = Scary
Work = How and why the world was made
Work = What I will do
Work = Work to work on, not to stress about
Stressing: Makes life harder than it already is
I am sitting here in a coffee shop with Eliina, sipping a half-cold half-caf latte and listening to coffee beans being roasted in their back room. Outside is sunny and warm, warm in the weather sense, warm in the sense that there’s some form of love in the air. The kind of love that radiates from familiar places and things, homecoming love, that seems intrinsic to grandmothers’ kitchens and best friends’ beat-up cars, your childhood dog and your favorite well-worn books. I am preparing for the fall right now, feeling much better about things. It will be hard work and long hours, but… when else would I like to take this on? Now, just now, when I have energy, time and love in the well.
i am done. I AM DONE., i am done, done dundundundun. there is nothing to say but that i am done and that i am done and that is all.
I have good stories. We asked the kids to write us notes about our teaching, and to give us advice for when we went on to our next classrooms. I got many hilarious notes, which I will post shortly. For now…. Walter M. gave us each little sheets of paper with: “Tip: Tell them you’ve been teaching three years so they don’t treat you bad.”
fake-ass grades from fake-ass teachers
I just spent an hour inventing grades for our students with my three other co-teachers. We literally sat there and went down the column of names, “4, 3, 4, 4, 2, 3,”…. for the four different subject areas…. then we averaged in their test scores (conveniently curved so that a 60 was a B), dropped the midterm grade entirely and fiddled with the spreadsheet so that each kid had grades that were slightly different for each area and sounded really official, like 2.886667 and 3.56777. These grades will be given to our faculty advisor, who will then pass them or fail them. 3 or 4 is passing. We passed all except three of the 27 kids. However, only 52% of the kids actually passed the final exam.
Our joke, which seemed gut-bustingly hysterical on little sleep:
Because TFA wants us to have 80% mastery, we have 33% to go. Two days remain. There are 8 instructional hours in those days. That works out to be 4.1% mastery per hour.
I’m not really conveying the hilarity of this situation, here. We sat there and MADE UP grades for these kids. WE MADE THEM UP. WE INVENTED THEM. FAKE! FAKE!!! They were based vaguely on their work, but the thing is, we sucked as teachers, and felt it totally ridiculous to give them grades based on our performance as teachers. So we graded them on an intuitive scale, with a handful of actual numbers gleaned from actual assignments, and a lot of fuzzy math.