the achievement gap within the achievement gap…

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 15 2010

topic: make my life and grade change

This is my first blog. As I started typing, I realized I spelled “first,” “frist.” Maybe I’m spending too much time in that E.S.L. mindset…

I always reflect on why I am here. Here I am, with a brand new B.A. in Political Science, teaching E.S.L. to ninth graders in Charlotte. While other 22 year olds are thinking about paying off their student loans, I am thinking about how much it would pay off to buy candy for my students as a reward for positive behavior. And actually, the pay off would be surprisingly big. Candy is so expensive though, so I am waiting until after Halloween. I was so intimidated at first that I would be teaching high school students; after 2 months of teaching, I am starting to realize that are so motivated by little incentives like candy, bouncy balls, and pencils with a little bunny rabbit sitting on top. (The last reward is a true one. One of our most challenging students, a seventeen year old boy ,was working to add up his stickers for positive behavior to get the pencil. He got it last week).

The past two days have been trying. I wrote the same boy I just mentioned a referral yesterday. The first one all year. I saw four of my students in ISS this afternoon. I was so mad!

But teaching has so many positives. I look for these to keep me going every day. I need it, because there has to be a reason why I wake up at 4:45 every morning, teach until 2:15, come home and either go to grad school or continue working from home…

One of my other students wrote this for his personal narrative, it give me chills to think that I have been able to reach a student so early. Trust me, if you knew this student from the beginning of the year to today, the change is enormous. The prompt was to write  about a mindset they once had and an experience they had that changed it:

(Note: I retained all the spelling and grammar. I can’t wait to see how much his writing improves by the end of the year!)


I was a bad student I like to skip classes don’t do works play to much I never take one test and when I go to classes I never do nothing.

I like to stay in my home sleeping every single day when I stay in my home skipping and the time when I came to school every teacher tell me, “Why you skipping school why you don’t change why you don’t do something with your life?”

But I never listen to the teachers I was care about skipping and don’t came to school be with my friends.

And one day when I came to school one of my teachers Ms. Harrison tell “You are failing my class because you don’t came to school and when you came to class you don’t do nothing If you what to pass my class you can came in lunch to do your test.”

I tell her, “Ok, I see you in lunch.”

And I came to here class in lunch and do my test. And when I see my grade in that test I felt smart because I was passing that E.S.L. class and I started thinking about my future and I tell myself if I am passing this class!!! Why don’t I pass the other classes and started doing some of my work.

But when I tray to change something’s happen I get in trouble for my upsets and I get suspended for fight in class and now I try to change to much and be good boy ‘cuz I feel that problems just get me more problems and don’t came to school get me more problems that I have.

Right now, V is a big reason why I Teach For America.

One Response

  1. Natalie, stay with it, and stay with that student. What you do makes so much of a difference.

    Here’s something that can really help you and your students.

    Here are the core principles:

    And here is the detail:

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