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02 September 2007 

that thing with kids

School started, Hopkins and my own kiddos. So far, the bitterness for not getting to have control over my own career path is fading. It's not healthy to hang on to that stuff, so I'm letting it go. Hence my willingness to help out with the restructuring committee. Why not?

This is year three of teaching, year four if you count RL student teaching, year 40 if you count the chaos of that student teaching year. We have a lot of new teachers at my school, and I can't help but to want to coddle them. They are panicked and feeling defeated. It's such a horrible but strengthening process, that first year. Even last year was troubling in Baltimore since it was a new school, but all of the emotions that come with starting in this field, particularly in schools with chaotic infrastructure, had dissipated. It's good to be here a second year, even though it wasn't my original choice. I appreciate the continuity, and I feel better knowing I'm with a couple of students that I was particularly concerned about. Like my little guy who is a junior and read at a second grade level.

The Wilson reading teacher and I are breaking some rules together. He gets a lot of thinking skills out of my class. I'm always pushing them to be analytical about the way the media is controlling their minds, but in the end, he won't go to college (like HE WANTS) if he can't read. So, unofficially, he's going to be in my class part time, and go to her class the other part. I'm going to grade him for the work he does in there. I didn't think she'd go for it, because I totally judged her as an non-invested, jaded, educator. She's not. Fuck me.

My other kiddo won't stop wearing his flag. I'm the official crime scene recorder in my school. Seriously, they send me everywhere at the most awkward times (like in the middle of my instruction) to take picture of weapons and graffiti. I noticed his crew had scribbled their reps on the wall. Thank god this kid is brilliant. He's going to hand that flag over to me each morning so he doesn't repeat last year's long term suspension. He might be one of the kids that will break me.

In other news, I have a new department head. She is wonderful. We had a departmental meeting where there was no conflict, just a meeting of the minds. She did what few can do: take administrative demands and make them applicable instead of ridiculous and offered to at least try to negotiate with administration for the few demands that really seemed strange. She is already checking lesson plans after only one week of teaching. And I have to create three plans a day! That is crazy. Kind of overwhelming. However, I appreciate her holding us accountable in a way that embraces student success and not a power-hungry-drive that is purely for the sake of itself.

Now I get to do the thing that revs me, lesson plan. As I've said before. This is such a renewing process. Anything is possible when I take a moment to breathe and think. I can soulfully say that I'm not scared of failing in my classroom. It's okay to think big and for it to not work. I will risk.


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Given the looming shortage of teachers, we put together a positive article for prospective teachers as well as those currently employed as teachers called: “100 Reasons To Be A Teacher.”

If you wouldn’t mind, could you share our article with your readers?

Please feel free to contact me at wndgrahamATgmailDOTcom if you are interested.

Many thanks!

Wendy Graham

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