7, Saturday Academy, and Sphere of Influence
And that's fine because new students are a way of life at our school -- case in point: our newcomer center (yes! we have a newcomer center! crazy!) has more than doubled in size since the fall. If I seem to get more than my fair share of transfer students, its only because I teach the seventh grade classes that function on a 3rd grade level, and that's about the point most kids stop learning in California. So new kids are fine, even bunched like this. What's not fine is the pitiful state of readiness they arrive in, not because of academics, which are bad enough, but in terms of getting here on time, carrying books, not losing everything, completing homework the rest of my class gets done more or less automatically. I'm ready for this battle toward student-hood in August; in March, the month I love because I start to teach grade-level standards for the first time, the whole thing makes my brain throw up on itself.
I wonder if the rest of the class sees this because I constantly want to point out the newly forged differences between themselves and these seven, want to jump and point and yell: "Look! Do you see? That was you: disorganized, unfocused, angry for no reason, late all the time. That was you and it isn't anymore, and you need to see this!"
It's Saturday Math Warrior time again, those idyllic days where CST 3s, high-2s and low-4s come in for supplemental, small group instruction on mathematics power standards. The kids wander in and give me the look, "You know how to teach math?"
"Yo. I can teach anything. Anything. Whaddaya wanna know? I'll teach it. I'll teach it right now. Let's go."
"Calm down, Mr. [TMAO]. I was just asking."
Except I didn't really know what I was teaching because I left without checking my box. I had called the Vice-POY and she told me I was teaching something, to somebody, paired with another teacher, but off the top of her head she couldn't remember what, to whom, or with whom. She's the Vice-POY partly because she went back to school to find out the answers to all those questions, but it got me thinking: What a tremendous reality show this would be!
Picture it: A bunch of teachers of various ages, ethnicities, specialities, and so forth, assembled for the right to call themselves... Top Teacher. Have the exceedingly perfect woman from Top Chef host, find an overly-decorated pad within busing distance from various LAUSD schools and randomly assign a different lesson topic/ age group/ school to the teachers every week. They get an hour to prepare, and then drop em in the room and watch the hilarity.
This summer I will be utilizing my free time working for these folks and these folks (which are more or less the same folks) in various leadership, equity-spreading capacities. For what that's worth.