Mr. B’s Blog

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 24 2008

May Days

Can’t write much. Just got back to Michigan from 3 days in Newark for May Days (TFA-Newark’s regional induction.) Despite the fact that I know how hard everything will be, just being out there, seeing teachers in action, and hearing people talk about the things Newark schools are doing even WITHOUT TFA is really inspiring.

 I finally got to meet the person I’ve been talking to since January about being roomates with. So I guess I have a roomate. I met some other really cool people and I can’t wait until institute starts so I can see/hang out with them again.

 Another part of May Days besides a bunch of presentations is a classroom visit. Since I already have my placement, I got to go to my school to spend a day doing more observations and actually helping with some teaching. During their morning rituals (it’s a charter school), I got called to the center of the room by one of the kindergartners who announced to the class that I will be joining the school next year as a teacher. After what appeared to be a good 5 minute speech (probably should’ve been 30 seconds but hey…kindergartners read slow), I was officially welcomed as a teacher! Then, here’s the amazing thing…

 I caught a couple of the teachers with a wet eye. One of them informed me that the student who introduced me was almost pulled from the school earlier in the year. He was having some serious family issues (stuff that makes me sad just to think about) and his parent/guardian just did not want him at the school. Well, it took some incredible convincing by my principal (so the story goes) and now this kid is standing in front of his classmates and teachers (about 75 students and 8 teachers/support staff) introducing me. Yeah, the statement was prepared (and most likely by a teacher or the prinicpal.) But you know what? That still takes some serious courage. And for a kid who was almost pulled from this school (which is part of a charter network that graduates HUGE numbers of students yearly), it was amazing to see him doing this. THIS is why I’m going to Newark. Because EVERY child in Newark has the potential in them to do AMAZING things. They might just need a little poking.

 As for my first full day experience at this school, it was great. I saw kids crying for various things (kids being mean to each other, feeling sick, being disciplined, etc.), a kid come in and look deathly ill only to announce he had just vomited, and in a small group session I was leading I was pretty much sneezed and coughed all over for a good hour or so. I’ve never used the anti-bacterial hand sanitizer stuff so much in my life. But you know what? All the kids I interacted with here incredible. They worked really hard to impress me, but they also showed me that they knew SOOOOO much. And I had a couple kids even tell me they love me.


I think my heart melted when that happened and I didn’t know it was possible.

 I made the right decision =)

2 Responses

  1. msggoestobaltimore

    Just saw your blog pop up and thought I’d say hi! We’ll be hanging in Philly together all of July! Congrats on getting placed! Sounds like an amazing place to spend your 2 years!!

  2. j-dot

    wow. congrats on getting placed and having such a great intro to your school. I’m hoping to be you in a few weeks. best of luck in philly and newark. I lived in Newark for a summer and it is a REALLY tough city (and this coming from a native New Orleanian!). Your attitude is so great, I’m sure you’ll do so well. best of luck again!

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Mr. B’s attempts at closing the achievement gap

Greater Newark
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Elementary Education

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