Latest posts from Rhode Island

Mar 06 2013

When salsa is like math

Last September, I joined Brown’s salsa club because I wanted something fun to do outside of teaching, and lessons were cheap and nearby. I improved a lot during the first semester, in large part due to my perfect attendance—lessons moved quickly, and I wouldn’t have been able to keep up otherwise. At the end of…

read more »
Feb 28 2013

Think about these things

I have a confession to make: I have not been myself lately. I’ve felt bitter about being given three preps (plus a new advisory), just as two were becoming manageable. My feedback for others has been four parts criticism to one part encouragement. When I redirect students, it’s less values-driven and more “you do what…

read more »
Feb 21 2013

A guide to high school slang

After a year and a half of teaching, I’ve become quite familiar with the slang of teenagers in Rhode Island and beyond. Below is my best attempt to define some of the terms and expressions that I hear most often in my classroom and hallways. Disclaimer: some of these are mildly offensive. amped - adj. excited,…

read more »
Feb 10 2013

Snow day #2

I just received a pre-recorded phone call informing me that school is canceled tomorrow. Under normal circumstances, this would be cause for celebration, or at least quiet thanksgiving and an early bedtime. But having spent the entire weekend (including Friday) planning, grading, and system-building inside my snow-encased apartment, all I could think as I listened…

read more »
Feb 08 2013

On being more like an elevator

I think I’ll write a quasi-continuation of my last post, in honor of my first snow day ever. (Thanks, Nemo!) Even as a second-year teacher, it’s easy to feel paralyzed by the sheer quantity of things I need to do. Adopting the Together Teacher system over the summer has helped a little, but there are…

read more »
Jan 31 2013

On not feeling overwhelmed

The past two weeks have been intense. I’ve attended a TFA- or teaching-related meeting almost every day after school. The district replaced our principal with someone who has never worked in the building before. My formal evaluation was rescheduled twice, each time at the last minute. (It’s currently set for next Tuesday, but who knows what…

read more »
Jan 26 2013

So This Is What It Feels Like…To Have a Bright Spot

So yesterday I had an incident at school.   Long story short: my kids were behaving like absolute zoo animals.  It was just like what you see in the movies — kids throwing pencils at each other, yelling, screaming, boys chasing each other around the room, kids throwing each others’ stuff in the trash as…

read more »
Jan 21 2013

Mountaintop

Martin Luther King, Jr., the night before his assassination: Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter to me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life—longevity has its place. But…

read more »
Jan 16 2013

The logarithmic learning curve of teaching

It’s often said that teaching has a steep learning curve. True, sort of. More precisely, teaching has a logarithmic learning curve—it’s steep at first but eventually flattens out. This has two implications: At the start of teaching, each unit of effort yields a leap in incremental effectiveness. You find a graphic organizer online that helps students keep track…

read more »
Jan 14 2013

Fragments

Thoughts to flesh out at some point, maybe: ————— I have a couple students who are sleepy every single class period. They’re not being defiant; they simply can’t stay awake for more than fifteen minutes at a time, and I don’t know why. The standard response to my probing is, “I’m just tired, mister.” What…

read more »

Subscribe to Rhode Island (feed)