Break Every Yoke

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 24 2012

April happenings

I’ve been woefully negligent in updating this blog recently, which is unfortunate, since the April has been one of the most eventful months this year. Even now, I don’t have time for a full-fledged post, but here’s a list of some of the highlights from the past few weeks.

  • My Math Lab kids scored an average of 85% on our last unit quiz, and two of my three Math Lab blocks averaged 90% or above. (Which means, of course, that the third block did rather poorly—but at least they’re demonstrating improvement!) High achievement on quizzes gets me especially excited, since unlike for exams, we don’t review the material beforehand—which means that a good score must be the result of strong retention from classroom learning, self-motivated studying at home, or both. Either way, the kids feel like they’ve learned something and I feel like I’m doing something useful.
  • Starting on Easter, my church switched from one to two services every Sunday, which means that on the weeks when I play bass with the worship team, I’m at church from 8 am to almost 2 pm doing music stuff. It sounds exhausting, and it kind of is, but it’s also exhilarating to spend so much time praising God through song. Even on weeks when my spiritual life feels stagnant or dry (most recent weeks, admittedly), I can always count on worship music to draw me back to Him. If math is the universal language of the intellect, then music is surely the universal language of the soul. As the psalmist puts it, “Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”
  • The 2012 Rhode Island corps was in town two weeks ago to interview for teaching positions, and I had the pleasure of getting to know many of them as they passed in and out of the TFA office, a.k.a. my home away from home. It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago, I was in their shoes, stressing out about finishing my senior year (particularly my thesis) while also trying to complete the school placement and pre-Institute work. It seems like the 2012 cohort has its act together, plus they’re just awesome people, and I’m excited to see them develop into great teachers at Institute and next year.
  • I basically spent all of spring break rehearsing for a talent show in Boston that my friend, a singer/songwriter based in Providence, invited me to play in with him (him on guitar/vocals, me on cello). It was my first time playing in a “popular” concert venue (as opposed to recitals and orchestra performances during high school), and though I can’t imagine doing it regularly in the future, it was an experience that I enjoyed and will always remember.
  • Today, I had to put on a performance of a different sort. In the middle of second block, my induction coach, another induction coach, and two of her mentee teachers walked into my room and began taking notes on all aspects of my teaching system. Fifteen minutes later, an MTLD walked in with a prospective 2012 corps member to show her what current CMs were doing in their classrooms, and they also decided to stay until the end of the lesson. In other words, I had six observers in my classroom all at the same time, looking around and peering over students’ shoulders and standing awkwardly. I actually didn’t mind too much, but in retrospect, it’s a miracle that my kids were able to maintain their focus and get their work done.

And on that note, time to go for a run and slam out the rest of this week’s lesson plans. Six more weeks until graduation. Let’s do this.

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