Ms. Singh in the Desert

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 19 2013

Becoming a Bad Student

“Miss, can I go to the bathroom?”
You’re bored. Damn it.
“Ask me after 15 minutes.”
“But I really gotta go!”
“If you pee your pants, I’ll buy you new ones.”
She always forgets to ask again.
Some students ask to go to the bathroom when their bladder is full. Others ask when the class is moving too slowly. Or too quickly. Some ask when they suddenly remember an urgent text they need to respond to. ¬†Whatever the reason, they’ve zoned out.
And I don’t blame them. Not every student is polite and self-disciplined enough to fake attentiveness when she’s bored. The problem isn’t a lack of manners–it’s my lesson. Two weeks ago, I gave a lesson on the distributive property. My students were distracted, but it wasn’t their fault. My lesson was boring. But the next day, they became detectives and had to write police reports about “what went wrong” in math problems scattered around the…

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I made a breakthrough this week. I became better at delivering lessons. A lot better. Any other week, the credit would have gone to my CMA, MTLD, or teachers-with-excellent-advice, but I have to admit that 95% of my professional development this week is because of him: This is The Germ. A rhinovirus, I think. It…

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“Math… High School… Phoenix! Phoen–” I muffled into Mr.’s shoulder, then rolled around on the floor, and then we went to get a celebratory box of bagels. This was in November, 2012. I spent the next seven months regularly emailing stories from TeachforUs (with subject lines like: “look at this schedule! LOOK AT IT!!” and…

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Same city, new adventures

High School

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