Tales from a Brand New Line

I am a really positive person.  I know I just did a whine post but honestly overall I tend to look on the bright side.  I love the upside.  You have a crappy day come talk to me I will find you an upside.   What this also means is that when I get actually angry I do a really good job.  It builds and I am just pissed or stressed or the word I used yesterday was compressed.

My Thursday:

I woke up at 6 and called the people at Math Olympiads in New York because I have faxed my registration in 3 times and I was calling to make sure they received it.  It’s in New York so if I don’t remember to call first thing I forget til 3 and they are closed. Anyway I called for the 3rd time and they asked me to fax it again.

Get dressed and head to school.  I fax it this time while on the phone with the guy.  It goes through!  I am a champion problem solver! Way to go me!

Now I’m all ready and I have to meet with my principal at 7:45.  Did I mention I have a formal observation today? Oh yea.  Pre-conference with the principal. It’s about 4 minutes long and I’m off to start my day.

Our school is on a super weird so on Thursday we have homeroom and then periods 3-6.  My prep is 2nd which means on Thursday I don’t get a break.  It also happens that I have brunch duty that day.  So I don’t get a break from first bell til lunch and with passing periods being only 4 minutes I’m almost always setting up the next class.

So homeroom comes, I hang with my kids and then I send them off and go outside to meet my 6th graders.  My 6th grade class is the hardest behavior wise.  They are so incredibly immature even for 6th graders.  They also spend all day together.  They are all the medium and low kids because the high kids from that class are in my advanced 7th class. We’ve been working really hard on appropriate class behaviors.  It was a pretty good day with them we went to the computer lab and did some ALEKs and then we came back and reduced fractions.

After 3rd is brunch so I headed out to the black top for duty.  I really like duty. Most of the time kids talk to me and tell me fun things.  When I get back from brunch duty I have my observation the principal is inside my class waiting.  That’s not intimidating at all. :/  My kids come in and start the warm up.  They take a while, I stamp homework.  We do a page of scaffolded notes.  The kids like them.  It takes longer than I want.  The principal is there. I am slightly nervous.  After notes I break up the kids based on their last quiz score.  I am trying to get them experts on two step equations.  It works.  They are productive during work time.  The high kids need very little help and the low kids get the attention they need.  The aide is utilized fairly well and I think it goes well.

This is until I get confused about the schedule and start clean up at 11:16 thinking class is done at 11:18 when in fact it is done at 11:22. I can not handle our schedule. Well frick and frak. It’s not a huge deal but it’s silly.

The principal leaves and we go straight in to 5th period.  I have to pee so bad this point my aide has to watch the class while I run downstairs. While walking back I find two students in the hall.  When I escort them back to class I find that the sub (8th grade english) has no classroom control and they are literally running around the room.  I come in and take care of that taking a couple kids back to my room to sit and do book work and basically to relieve her a bit.

FINALLY LUNCH! 4 kids show up and I say today I have to take a break and eat with adults. Except I get stopped by the sub and asked to help her write referrals and deal with that.  By the time I have talked to the AP dealt with the kids that were wandering the halls and shaken off the sub there were 5 minutes left of lunch.  I scarf my sandwich and headed off to last class.

In my advanced class we were having a discussion of why dividing by x is the same at multiply by one over x when the principal comes back.  Now my principal was a math teacher so he likes coming in and teaching.  But honestly after everything it was just to much having him there.  FINALLY! bell rings!

Except tuesday and thursday we run a program called homework club. The teacher running it is an elementary teacher and she needs help. So I have been taking a chunk of the kids in to my room just to help her out. (I just got approval from the principal to get paid for this but I have been doing it for free for the last few weeks)

I have 15 kids in my class til 4. Now I have to meet with the principal again.  I’m on my way there when I get a text message from my old college alert system telling me to stay inside and lock and barricade the doors.  Turns out they think there is a gun on campus.  At the school my brother goes to. I call him luckily he’s not there. But still, totally freaked me out.

okay, now it’s 4:15 no break since 7:30 and I’m heading in to see the principal.


  • I am doing a great job. I am at or above where a first year teacher should be.
  • I have great re-pore with kids
  • the kids are productive during work time
  • they seem to like and be interested in both me and math
  • the leveled groups were great

Then he starts on the things i need to work on

  • I don’t have a good tardy system
  • the beginning of class is not starting straight off
  • warm ups are to long
  • the transitions are to fast
  • I need to do more turn and talk
  • the end of class need more structure
  • my room is a mess
    • I would post a picture but some of you would stop being friends with me.  I have no ability to be organized. I just can’t.  I need students with jobs to do it for me.
  • sometimes I am to loud.

After talking to the other math teacher today I realize those are all fixable things.  But at the time it was a lot.  I left feeling overwhelmed and talked at a lot.  I left a fair bit exhausted and stressed. I called my mom to debrief except she is busy.  So after a day with out a break it’s now 5:35 and I have no one to talk to and I am tired and disappointed with myself and stressed because again the few times I do get stressed I do it well.

That was my day yesterday, it was tough and part of what pisses me off is it was tough and that had nothing to do with my kids.

I feel like it was one of those first year teacher days everyone talks about. There was some stuff today worth sharing but my word count is encroaching on 1300 and most of you have stopped reading anyway.  So for tonight I offer no solution or moral or succinct ending just this thought:

the worst part of being a first year teacher is knowing you are a first year teacher.


3 thoughts on “Tales from a Brand New Line

  1. I’m still there too. It’s disappointing to make first-year mistakes but face it, we just can’t get away from being the newb. But I would rather be the newb now and know it than to have my first-year experience repeat itself for 30 years and not know why.

    It’s kind of nice to at least have something to attribute our failures to…for now.

    That being said, we are starting ALEKs in my class on Monday. Do you love it? How do you use it and for how long? Do you notice an improvement or think that it actually helps?



  2. Well, I’m glad you figured out that moral. As a 5th year teacher now, I’d say these kinds of days are not totally uncommon. You do learn to expect them on some level, so it ends up not being so bad, but they happen.

    As for the principal feedback: He had to give you something to work on or else he wouldn’t be a very good advisor. If that’s all he could come up with for you to work on, you’re doing really well! No critical errors anyways.

    Also, it’s kinda great that a lot of your stress from the day came from helping out others.

    Ultimately I’ve come to judge these kinds of days by driving to the core of what we do: Was the day wasted for the students or did they learn something? Seems like yours solidified their 2-step equation work and nobody got hurt.


  3. I’m with CalcDave — it actually sounds like a very positive review and day. It just showed up wearing a very weird-looking costume.

    Seriously, the fact that the kids were productive and learning is a big fact in your favor. Try and keep your eyes on the prize and don’t let the little stuff get you down. Oh, and eat some chocolate or something.


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