Info


And other excerpts from my journal:

There are a lot of reasons I became a teacher, and it wasn’t a split-second decision. I’ve known I wanted to teach since I was in second grade—when I stole worksheets from my teacher and made my brother do them at home.

Javon began the year like an angel and turned into a rebel.

You want to know something even more embarrassing about what’s going in my classroom right now? I spent three hours last night preparing this hour-long lesson, this clown car pile-up. I thought about an anticipatory set, a mini-lesson, and structures for work time. I brushed up on my Bloom’s Taxonomy, my multiple intelligences, and my IEP accommodations.

Now a wandering teacher plays Whac-a-mole with off-task behaviors.

here is magic, bent and folded
reshaped and reimagined
here is teaching transformed and multiplied

hats
headphones
hundred-dollar hairdos

Their jeans must wonder why gravity is so demanding.

You smell like tortillas!
Call my dad and tell him I have an A.
Just because you’re the teacher doesn’t mean you’re making sense.
You gotta get your grades up, fool; that’s your future, homie.
Naw, man. Math is hella cool sometimes.

When I was six, standing in front of people and talking seemed cool.

Here is my classroom: desks covered with graphite and ink, a floor tattooed by gum and covered with sticky notes, a student library perpetually disorganized, a projector screen dangling from metal rods, an ugly purple rug covering an extension cord, and a pencil sharpener broken once, twice, three times.

And oh: as many types of chairs as there are students.

Rosita’s father told her, “When you get a teacher who is only there for the money, you must learn on your own.”

The depressing thing about my current disaster: I like to talk about teaching as if I know what I’m doing. When twenty-five fourteen-year-olds go wildly out of control in a classroom managed by someone who’s been preparing for this particular lesson, this particular transition, these particular students for the past seven years, it burns the ego.

I cannot allow Rosita to believe this is for the money.

-

James Boutin teaches language arts and social studies just south of Seattle, Wash. He has previously taught in New York City; Washington, DC; and Knoxville, Tenn. He blogs about education at An Urban Teacher’s Education.

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  1. September 26, 2014

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  2. October 2, 2014

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