Ms. Singh in the Desert

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 28 2013

Boiling in the Desert. Eating Dessert.

“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 “what if I have a co-teacher and what if it’s a MONSTER?!“) thinking all the while:

And, later:

And, later:

I decided to start this blog when I wrote down “4/5″ on a half-sheet of paper. While I was grading the 5-question algebra quiz my freshmen took 50 minutes to complete, Dominic, can’t-sit-still-or-concentrate-or-take-notes Dominic, parent-calls-about-behavior-and-test-anxiety Dominic, got an 80%

The day I learned that my 9th graders could not solve -10 + 15, I began to worry. According to my district’s curriculum, I had 12 days “to review” before starting a lesson on functions. 12 days would have been enough, in retrospect. But 12 days wasn’t even enough to get them to take notes or do homework or concentrate on the lesson. Class averages teetered between 19% – 30% on every assessment. My class scored a 4% on a district-wide test (the district average was a 13%) And I could not move on until they knew these basics–I have plenty of geometry students who have poor grades because they, too, don’t remember how to solve for x. 12 days turned into a stubborn 2 months, and most of my students can now, finally, solve for x. Some of my students are finally getting As on quizzes. And Dominic, who got a 13% on a test 2 weeks ago, just got an 80%

And I am so proud of him.

I have one week until Fall Break, one week until my immune system can recharge, one week until my professor won’t have to call my exhausted self “Horizontal Grishma” in class, one week until my schedule looks different than teach-eat-plan-sleep-repeat, and I’m no longer worried about whether my students are going to be okay.

They’re going to be more than okay.

They will succeed.

And, as long as Mr. doesn’t forget to get ice cream from the store, I won’t melt into the sidewalk.

About this Blog

Same city, new adventures

High School

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