Thursday, September 16, 2010

A day in the life of a Teach(er) for America -- posted for future comment

I've been meaning to post this for a long time (from Michael Winerip's NYT article on Teach for America):

The 774 new recruits who are training here are housed in Rice University dorms. Many are up past midnight doing lesson plans and by 6:30 a.m. are on a bus to teach summer school to students making up failed classes. It’s a tough lesson for those who’ve come to do battle with the achievement gap.

Lilianna Nguyen, a recent Stanford graduate, dressed formally in high heels, was trying to teach a sixth-grade math class about negative numbers. She’d prepared definitions to be copied down, but the projector was broken.

She’d also created a fun math game, giving every student an index card with a number. They were supposed to silently line themselves up from lowest negative to highest positive, but one boy kept disrupting the class, blurting out, twirling his pen, complaining he wanted to play a fun game, not a math game.

“Why is there talking?” Ms. Nguyen said. “There should be no talking.”

“Do I have to play?” asked the boy.

“Do you want to pass summer school?” Ms. Nguyen answered.

The boy asked if it was O.K. to push people to get them in the right order.

“This is your third warning,” Ms. Nguyen said. “Do not speak out in my class.”
Lots of interesting jumping off points here about Teach for America, classroom life and how not to handle a math lesson. Now if I can just find time to write them up.

No comments:

Post a Comment