Being Ms. B

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 17 2012

In which it soothes the savage beast

Confession: I wrote this post on Thursday, from my classroom.
There’s something a little wasteful and opulent about writing while I’m at school, but sometimes I figure that if I’m going to teach it, I have to practice it.
Also, I magically finished next week’s lesson plans that morning, including worksheets.  Also, I had nothing to grade.
Still, there are probably other things I should have been doing, but there’s something about writing that is soothing to my teacher soul.
The first three days of this week Were Rough.  Something about snow, and romance, and chocolate turned our children into crazy, crazy, crazy people for three whole days.  By Thursday, they seemed to have calmed down.
A little.
Magically, I arrived at school and one of the instrumental, totally legal, and wonderful music radio sites that I love was functioning on my work computer.  I quick as a bunny found the jazz station (we’re reading Bud, Not Buddy.  Jazz… 1930s… It’s so multi-media, I love it.)  All day I turned the music on for independent reading and watched them just zone right into the book.
It’s a minor miracle.
We’ve been working on a “reading marathon” for this unit – trying to get to 26 minutes of silent, sustained reading – and so far it’s been pretty disheartening.  Even with rewards, even with the competition aspect, we had been clumping around with 30 seconds, 1 minute, 4 minutes, 35 seconds for the past two weeks.
Today, second hour got to 11 minutes and 30 seconds before I finally cut them off for talking.  Now granted, I had 2 kids passing notes, 1 kid with his head down, and 1 kid with her eyes anywhere but on the book, but I made the call that I needed to build the confidence and ambiance rather than nitpicking the entire class for those little infractions.  Also granted, my administration chose that day to send EVERY TARDY CHILD TO ISS?!?  (What is this madness called discipline…)
The most amazing thing is that one of my girls walked in to second hour and said, “Ms. Berger, you look happy today!”  And I realized, yeah I probably do.  On task students, soothing music, Actual Real Literacy happening before my eyes?  I have never felt so Kool-Aidy in my life.
It is tantalizing to think that it is almost, almost President’s Day.  This, supposedly, is the magical three day weekend in which you show up for school the next week and suddenly become a Super-Effective, With-It Teacher (a SEWIT?).  I wonder what that will be like?

2 Responses

  1. Jessica

    Um, they told us that about October.

    Then they said that about Thanksgiving.

    Then Christmas break.

    Let’s just say I’m skeptical about these “magical teaching breakthrough benchmark dates.”

    • els

      I KNOW, RIGHT?! I’m waiting for my teacher turnaround too.

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