I apologize for my lack of writing, but I have barely had a moment to myself over the past few weeks. Lesson planning, grading papers, making posters for my classroom, everything else that being a teacher entails. Oh yeah, and then there is the student part of Institute.

After Induction in Memphis, I drove to Atlanta, where I joined 599 other 2010 corps members for our 5 week training, called Institute, where we learn how to be effective educators. For the first week of Institute, we were simply students. Learning how to make lesson plans, plan purposefully, manage behavior, and everything else that the teachers due. I’ve also apparently went back to 2005, because I eat at a dining hall and get about 4 hours of sleep a night…But oh well. I am absolutely loving this. I am really enjoying becoming a teacher.

I am teaching eighth grade reading. I only have six kids, though. All boys. MC, MW, SA, JG, TA, and CH. They are super special, and I am so blessed to have such a good group of kids. Of course, they have their problems, and witnessing some of the problems that they are having in school pisses me off to no end. TA, SA, and JG read on a 5th grade level, and somehow they have been passed through to the 8th grade, and I’m sure they will still be passed on to the 9th. Not only do they have such low reading levels for their age, but they lack so many important skills that 8th graders need to have. No one has taught them how to generalize beyond individual assignments. They are afraid of being creative, and they have such limited vocabularies. SA barely understands English sentence structure, and none of them can spell. My heart just reaches out to these boys, and I truly do see the achievement gap in them. I know that these boys are smart; every single one of them can do what I need for them to do. Someone along the line just decided that they couldn’t, and so they have been behind since then.

I am having some troubles with 2 of my students, though. They have not passed one of the assessments, meaning, they have not mastered one of the objectives that has been set out for them to do. In the summer school setting, I don’t have the time to sit down individually with them and really explain to them what is going on. Whenever I attempt to talk to them, they don’t respond, but just stare at me like they can’t believe that a teacher is trying to have a conversation with them. I want to invest them, but when I only see them for 90 minutes a day, I’m not allowed to have lunch with them, and I have a bazillion objectives to get through anyways…it’s hard. Of course, it’s not impossible, and I need to work harder on investment, and I shouldn’t make excuses, but it is still hard.

I have learned that I am pretty good at commanding a classroom, which is good. Because my boys are so great, though, I do wonder about how I am going to do with classroom management when I have a much larger classroom, 36 high school kids who are not as invested and good as these kids.

We are halfway through Institute, and I am really enjoying it, but I can’t wait to get into my own classroom. I can’t wait to decorate, place my own management plan, and really get to make progress with my kids.

Well, I should probably go and make lesson plans. Sorry I haven’t updated much during the past 3 weeks, but somehow–the internet really doesn’t seem as important anymore.