Everything I Know I Learned in Pre-K

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 21 2011

Time to Think

I’ve been super sick for the last few days, and my time languishing in bed has given me a lot of time to think. One of the first things that I thought of, and then worried about, was how I’m pretty sure that somewhere in my contract with my school it says that if I’m sick for too many days in a row, they can fire me. The second part was that I won’t have earned any sick days until next week, so I’m not getting paid for any of this time, and it’s not like I’m exactly using it or enjoying it. Anyway, as today was my third day out, even if I had earned sick days, only Monday and yesterday would have been paid for, since my school only gives us two (yes, you read that right, TWO) sick days per calendar year.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the type of support I have, or have not, been recieving this year so far. In her note to me yesterday as a response to my doctor’s note stating I probably shouldn’t come in to work until Friday (have no fear, I’ll be in tomorrow…), my director told me that our observer from the city had popped in unannounced while I was sick yesterday, and I have no doubt that all kinds of bad things came from that visit. I am all the more sure because this morning when I called to confirm that I would not be coming in again today, the teacher covering the desk made sure to mention it to me too. I have made some major changes to my classroom since the last time the city’s observers came, but some things I haven’t done. It’s been a huge problem that my director is only at school once or twice a week, and so even when she says we’re going to meet, or talk, it doesn’t happen. If we do talk, it’s sort of in passing, as she comes in to my classroom for a few minutes to tell me how I should change something. One of the major things that the city lady said last time was that I need to take all of the phonics stuff out of the classroom because it’s not developmentally appropriate. I’m ok with that (I guess), but no one has told me exactly which materials need to be taken out, or how I am supposed to fill the empty space they will leave behind. In fact, no one has said anything to me about it at all. No adjustments have been made yet to the way my curriculum works, or the fact that the school is supposed to adopt a new curriculum that meets city standards.

However, the thing that has most been on my mind is how to give my kids presents. I have enough stuffed animals to give each of my kids at least two (maybe more like five). However, I would really love to give books, or library cards or something. Some of my students have books at home, and regularly visit the library with their parents, but this is not the case for all of my students. One of my students who joined my class two weeks ago was reading a book when I told him to put it away because we were going to move into a new part of the day. He told me he wanted to keep reading it because he didn’t have any books at home- it wrenched my heart. More than anything, I would love to give him a book for the holidays. I really don’t know what to do about it, and it’s been on my mind a lot during the last few days.

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