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I am a mommy, scribe, and middle-school English teacher. I am trying to cope with being separated from my beloved. DoUWantMore? email me: theprisonerswife@gmail.com

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mis-education of the negress

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:21 PM
mis-education of the negress

i am exhausted.

my first week of teaching is coming to a close, and i never knew i would be this tired. my feet ache, badly. my legs are sore and cramping, and my classes are draining as hell. working at an "inner city" middle school is rough. i have 4 different groups of kids--a "remedial" class, a "sheltered" class, and two honors classes--each requiring their own special attention. and on top of it all, seventh graders are a precarious bunch. they are middle children. they are caught somewhere between childhood and becoming teenagers. they are fighting to create their own identities, or just fighting cuz somebody smudged their pumas.

walking in i had a plan. i would be firm, strict, and yes, perhaps even a little mean. by the way, i'm not mean. i smile a lot. i love to laugh, but at our professional development days many seasoned teachers warned us newbies not to smile until (at least) christmas. word?

week one is almost over and i must admit, i do somewhat miss my comfy office job. my kids are...a handful. they test you. my voice is almost gone, my nerves are wearing thin. i don't want to turn into one of those "SIT DOWN and SHUT UP!" teachers, but i can see how easily it can happen.

on the bright side...you have those kids that have already said my class is their favorite. i already have groupies who want to hand out books, papers, run to the office, clean my room. i feel a bit awkward about using kids to run errands, but other teachers have said it makes them feel involved in the class....so i'm rolling with it.

teaching is definitely not easy, and i'm DEFINITELY not an expert. i am sort of fumbling through a dark tunnel making my way toward a dim and distant light.

9 Response to 'mis-education of the negress'

  1. ToastedSuzy Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2006/09/mis-education-of-negress.html?showComment=1157730000000#c115773003785789446'> Friday, September 08, 2006 8:40:00 AM

    I love this!

    Especially: "they are fighting to create their own identities, or just fighting cuz somebody smudged their pumas."

    Lovely. If in one sentence you can encompass the enormity or pre-adolescent angst and the pettiness of it, then you're definitely right for the job of teaching these kids.

    I have utmost respect for you. I hope you pat yourself on the back frequently for doing what you do. You're a hero.



  2. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2006/09/mis-education-of-negress.html?showComment=1157731080000#c115773113546587276'> Friday, September 08, 2006 8:58:00 AM

    Peace and blessings to you!

    Teaching is something I would like to do...eventually.

    I hope that your teaching journey is a beautiful one!!!


  3. Stori's mama Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2006/09/mis-education-of-negress.html?showComment=1157733180000#c115773323871293686'> Friday, September 08, 2006 9:33:00 AM

    Thank you for putting in the work and the time and for contemplating the gravity of your mission. We love you.


  4. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2006/09/mis-education-of-negress.html?showComment=1157736360000#c115773639293963310'> Friday, September 08, 2006 10:26:00 AM

    thanks guys.

    i am on my confrence period and i am wondering if it's ok to hate some kids? lol. ok, maybe not HATE, but really dislike...i totally dislike my homeroom. most of them aren't in any of my classes & i only have them for 15 minutes (thank GOD!). i'm trying to find ways to keep them quiet and working on other homework (i give puzzles or let them read the books in my class)...any ideas? teachers holla at me!


  5. bygpowis Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2006/09/mis-education-of-negress.html?showComment=1157806020000#c115780602823260186'> Saturday, September 09, 2006 5:47:00 AM

    ... and it will continue to be hard. three months at a public school in brooklyn the dean told me, "if [Adam] is not hurting someone this week, you've had a good week." there is just so much you can and will do. accept your limitations but do not use those boundaries to limit your students. there's the rub. and it hurts. it hurts a lot for folks who are genuine about their intentions in tne "inner-city". i'm sure they've already told you the attrition rate for first year teachers. i had to take some time off after three months at PS whatever. i was drained. no time for anything but control and prepare. no comraderie amongst colleagues. playing on teams all my life, that seemed the antithesis of what a "school" should be. find a team, tpw. find like-minded collegues down the hall or in the next trailer. get your parents involved. you wont get them all, but reach out. and those teachers are right. trust me, don't smile 'til x-mas. kids smell the weak. you're new. you're weak. their only weapons are subtle because they have no physical force. doesn't seem that way but... and i'm not being jaded here, just ofering advice after living with four younger siblings and coaching all age groups for over a decade... YOU CAN'T GO FROM NICE TO MEAN. can't happen. you can go the other way and they will think, "she smiled at me today. i must have done something right." be nice in private. remember the wizard in dorothy's journey. he was whatever each person needed, but only to each of them individually. that's how he maintained his power. you need power in that room. don't smile 'til xmas. smile at the good ones who deserve it. take the bad ones in at lunch and love them in private. try it. it's your first year. you're trying a lot of approaches. why not this way?... and whatever you do, read chapters 5-8 of "17 to life". my middle school years may offer some insight, especially for the boyz tryin' to be men... whatever you do, know that your job is the most necessary thing in the world. your best is needed every day. your attitude raises their aptitude... no pressure.


  6. pear Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2006/09/mis-education-of-negress.html?showComment=1157861100000#c115786115923824968'> Saturday, September 09, 2006 9:05:00 PM

    it's hard teaching children whose parents don't believe that they truly are the first educators...


  7. Ananda Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2006/09/mis-education-of-negress.html?showComment=1157870460000#c115787046193034014'> Saturday, September 09, 2006 11:41:00 PM

    sistalove. your commitment and ability to tell what's really happening are a blessings. i am sending you love and light as you navigate this journey. you remain an inspiration. and it means so much to us all that you have taken the calling as a teacher. know that you are always held in the light. peace and love, ananda


  8. Aly Cat 121 Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2006/09/mis-education-of-negress.html?showComment=1158197460000#c115819746790040814'> Wednesday, September 13, 2006 6:31:00 PM

    Yeah middle school babies are the toughest. I'm a "retired" middle school teacher of "urban" youth myself (still trying to figure out what is meant by URBAN). They will drain you, not cuz they want too but cuz they need sooo sooo much. And it's okay to smile and above all be REAL. Tell them about YOU. What I found with my babies is the more real I was, the more serious and real they were. PERIOD.

    Besides me lettin them know I'd call Big Pookie on they butts cuz I'm from the same hood as them. LOL. If they know you TRULY care and love them, girl there ain't nothing they would not do to get it done.


  9. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2006/09/mis-education-of-negress.html?showComment=1160019480000#c116001949183706772'> Wednesday, October 04, 2006 8:38:00 PM

    Yes - it is like this -