Everything I Know I Learned in Pre-K

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 31 2011

Excerpt from an e-mail I wrote a friend…

And by “excerpt,” I mean the majority of the e-mail. After writing it, I realised it’s pretty much everything I would want to tell people to give them an overview of where I am right now.

I’ll be working in the South Bronx, in a largely Hispanic and African immigrant community. I’m really excited about it! I did my work in Tara’s class about the need for Pre-K education, and I pushed hard to get a placement in it. In fact, I’m one of the first people Teach For America has ever placed in Pre-K in NYC, so that’s pretty cool. I’m going to be getting a Master’s from Fordham University, and I’m still unclear about how the process works since I’ll be working really long hours (longer than the average teacher, and year-round), but I’m looking forward to that as well. Orientation starts on Thursday, which is kind of crazy.
This summer during Institute, I had a hell of a time, but I taught 3rd grade, and LOVED it and my kids. I only had 9 kids, but they ranged in age from 9 to 11, and had a variety of needs that had to be addressed to help them get to 4th grade (another example of terrible bureaucracy, I’m still waiting to find out if I can find out if they passed). One of my kids was at a beginning 1st grade reading level, but was the best in the class at math, while another of my kids was on a 5th grade reading level and the worst in my class at math. Some of the kids were just behind in both. A lot of them had already repeated either 2nd or 3rd grade. They worked really hard for the most part, and a lot of them were very clear about the fact that they definitely did not want to repeat 3rd grade. Some of my kids also had documented disabilities, of which we were not informed until the last week of summer school. The true disgrace is that summer school is a total of 6 weeks, of which we only taught them for 4. They are in school from 8:30-12:30, Monday-Thursday. It is not nearly enough time to teach them a year’s worth of content that they didn’t understand the first time around. However, the part that made it all worth it was the fact that, even if they didn’t go on to 4th grade, some of them really did gain a kind of love for learning and school. They said that my co-teachers and I were the best teachers they’d ever had, and they all said they loved us at some point or another. There is no one in the world who wouldn’t say being a teacher was worth it after that.

One Response

  1. Interesting^^

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