Teach for Texas, Teach for Tennessee

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 23 2011

Dear Mom and Dad–

I’m a teacher!

Kind of.

(P.S. Momma: thank you for making me keep this bag.  I don’t care how non-courtroom it is.  At 5:15 in the morning, it makes me happy.)

The problem with this is: I just ran my kids diagnostic data into the system tracker today to find out their summer growth goals.  In one week, we have to test them again for mid-institute data.  How in the hell am I supposed to get these kids to read in three more weeks?

Just something that I learned last week that I can’t help thinking about over and over:

“So strong is the link between literacy and being a useful member of society that some states use 3rd grade-level reading statistics as a factor in projecting future prison construction.” –National Adult Literacy Survey (1992), NCES, US Dept. of Education

That sounds all fine and dandy and efficient until you sit down with the thirteen-year-olds in your 6th grade English class who literally cannot read.  It’s not just that they don’t have the fluency to revel in the beauty of crafted language or that they can’t comprehend a text in front of them.  Some of them can’t sound out words with heavy letter-sound based prompting.  Made me curse and cry yesterday.  I’m a crying kind of girl.  That’s fine.

Every morning, my school bus with the blinking little white light bounces out of Cleveland, through Ruleville, and onwards.  On the left, every morning, stands the Mississippi State Penitentiary, surrounded by barbed wire and flanked by a couple water towers.  I might be over dramatic and I might have drunk the Kool-Aid, but this is real.

5 Responses

  1. elsa

    It’s true. And completely overwhelming.

  2. Ms. D

    And just wait until one tells you they want to go to Harvard and it hits you so hard that while you know it’s possible, their whole life trajectory has to be completely altered and now. The urgency is overwhelming for sure..

  3. mcm

    Take it one step at at time and remember that a ripple can become a wave (though you might not be around when the wave rolls by!) Small sparks may smolder and then burst into flame….

  4. Pops

    I never fail to be amazed by your writings, and I’m always made more proud by your thoughts. We always tried to make you aware of how blessed you were in your upbringing and education. A week of experience teaches more than a childhood full of parental anecdotes and admonishments.

    You’re doing fine. I have great confidence in your success. Pray and push onward….

  5. theyoungerMCM

    your efforts will be rewarded in ways that you cannot even begin to imagine….it is “real” and your successes, as small as they may seem, are making a difference!

    Keep the wheels on the bus moving forward…..We’re proud of you!

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Written on the bus to school.

High School

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