I have now been on the job, teaching in Brooklyn, for 4.5 months, enough to get a basic understanding of how the system works. I have taught lessons from the curriculum College Prep Math; I have collaborated with four other teachers for the various classes I am responsible for; I have gotten involved in the goings-on of the school by sharing responsibility in our Committee for Culture and Character that explores how to make the school better; and I am the webmaster for the new school website. It has taken a while to get used to all the responsibility but I am hitting my stride in working with these people and forging relationships with kids that have the depth to truly make a difference.
At the same time I have also developed some negative relationships with a few students who really need the assistance of teachers. The two on the top of my list are in classes they both need to pass in order to be on track for graduation, except their attitude and our interaction are holding them back. At times, this negativity has made me question my role as an educator in a school but I have been persistent in my effort of working with them and am reaching out to others for help. I have gotten good advice that will be used in the weeks ahead, and I will not simply let these negative things happen without dealing with them somehow.
The last observation I have made in New York City thus far relates to the end of our semester. "Regents Week" is crafted by New York State to be when students take a variety of exams in order to pass classes. Since our school has a waiver from almost all Regents exams, the students are not coming to class on January 28-February 3, essentially giving them another small Winter Break. It is a very strange thing to be in a school without students in the middle of the year, but I look forward to being truly able to plan things so that I can be ready for second semester.
Congratulations to all my peers across the city in finishing their first semester of the year!