I will address this blog post by saying this will be an intensely multimedia-based post, so if the pictures are too big, I apologize ahead of time.
I’m sitting here at Kira’s mom’s apartment, eyes slightly drooping due to an exhausting week mixed with a slightly uncomfortable ride on the Metro North to Poughkeepsie. She’s at work for a few hours so in an attempt to be useful, I’m working on both this blog post and my first-ever lesson plan as a NYC DOE certified teacher (with the help of my co-teacher, of course).
Maybe this is my brain starting to mold into first-day-of-school mode, but I’ll post my three objectives for this post before I begin.
- Policy regarding names, situations, and the like addressed on this blog.
- Pictures taken of our classroom on Thursday at 3:30 pm
- A closing that ties the title of this post together with my current favorite track out there right now.
When it comes to a public blog, as some of my closest high school friends can assist, I’ve had a rather interesting history starting from my freshman year at Paramus Catholic. Before high school, I had a couple of websites made from free website makers. Some of them demonstrated my adolescent feelings against some of my classmates. One particular website got me a day in detention (which was a huge deal for a sweet, nice “brain” like me) because I used my classmates’ names negatively. That tread continued through high school when, for the first three semesters, my blogs still had a ridiculously personal feel with real names used and friendships either built up or torn down due to the words I wrote.
Now, seven years removed from my “terribly personal” LiveJournal/DeadJournal period and my third venture into blogging after an LJ period and MVN: The Bronx Block, I’ve seen the damage using real people’s names in addressing negative situations associated with them. In other words, I don’t want to use most real people’s name on this blog just to cover my own ass. That would include my co-teacher’s name, any of my colleagues’ names, and especially the kids, if I choose to talk about anyone specific. I will most likely change all their names or just address the person by their title (i.e. “my co-teacher” or “one of my students”), but if a specific person or student is mentioned more than a few times in the blog, he or she will have a made-up name. I take any and all suggestions!
This blog’s intent is to verbally illustrate a first-year’s teacher’s attempt to remain sane while working for one of the biggest bureaucracies this country can host while speaking about my love for baseball at times. This blog is more for my friends and loved ones who are even thinking about teaching as well as any outsiders to read yet another NYC teacher’s blog. Because of that, I will write down the real names of some of the most important people in my life including my girlfriend Kira and my best friend Sarah, among others.
It’s good to know that I may have grown up and matured a little bit over the last seven years, right? ;-)
I’d like to start this section of the post by thanking my co-teacher who may or may not be reading my blog. She has been an incredible help this last week and I’ve learned a lot already. At least I now know how to set up a classroom, though I hope these pictures can help me in the future if I ever have an entire class for myself. She’s both strict and organized, which are two attributes that I need work on. She allowed me to take on some of the decorations and labels since one of my better skills is working with technology.
These pictures are from Thursday at 3:30 pm. The room has changed a bit and will change even more by the end of Tuesday (which I’ll try to put most pictures up then). What needs to be added are our morning routine chart, our discipline chart, and an assortment of other charts.
After this post is published, I will be working on a quick outline/script for my first lesson plan. I’m battling feelings of equal halves: half excited, half nervous. I am anticipating immersing myself into the culture of my school while trying to plan my lessons and plan time to de-stress. When it comes to the training I got from the Fellows, the most significant thing I remember taking away from it was that effective special education educators are supposed to differentiate instruction. However, that’s what most good teachers do anyway.
The title comes from the last lyric from Semisonic’s only hit “Closing Time”. This new beginning comes from the end of my first few months of Fellows training. The last three months, I have been tipping my toes into the deep waters of NYC public education, where the unprepared and unsupported can be up a creek without a paddle. On September 9, I’m being pushed into the waters… and I can’t swim. I have to learn how to. Unfortunately, to me, 7 weeks is nowhere near enough time to be prepared for about 180 days of teaching, but I have to learn along the way.
I’ll leave you with what I’m considering my “back-to-school” anthem, a tradition I’ve kept up since my freshman year of high school. It’s off The Blueprint 3 and yes, I did download the leak. I’m definitely buying the album when it comes out though. I remember first hearing “Empire State of Mind” twice on Tuesday while my co-teacher and I were setting up the classroom and immediately loving it. After downloading Jay-Z’s new album, I found the song and have listened to it almost 40 times since Tuesday.
Alicia Keys’ chorus rings true in my heart as well as many of my friends who are pushing to make their dreams come true whether coming out of Fordham or elsewhere.
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
Theres nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
these streets will make you feel brand new,
the lights will inspire you,
let’s here it for New York, New York, New York…”
My philosophy for this year: Work hard, play hard and pray hard.