Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thoughts on This School Year

I got an email today that blew my mind: mid-quarter grades are due by Friday. The passage of time seems to be defying the laws of physics, or whatever scientific principle applies to the passage of time. Let me remind you, I'm an English teacher. When it comes to science, unfortunately, I'm a bit like Michelle Bachmann discussing Paul Revere.

The year is off to a great start. My school is a failing school, and we have put an aggressive plan in place to change the culture. Changing the culture of a school is a Herculean effort, and I feel like I'm going a hundred miles an hour all day. The kind of change we're trying to make takes a long time, but I can feel a different vibe in the building. The kids feel it too. More than one kid has complained about how strict things are now. That may not sound like much, but let me tell ya, it's huge. I am cautiously optimistic we're on the right track.

I wanted to share one of the highlights of my year so far. Last week I took my classes to the library to check out books. In one of my classes, two boys checked out the same book. They went off to a corner and began quietly reading, taking turns. On the walk back to class, they kept right on reading out loud, completely immersed. It was a sight to behold.

We have a lot of really cool kids this year, but as usual, a few stand out. There's the girl whose outfits are just crazy enough to be fashionable, the African American kid who I can only describe as the black Michael Cera, the new kid who is so dorky and smart (he reads The New York Times on his mother's phone), the other smart kids already defer to him. And then there's the boy who wants to eat lunch with me every day. I usually say no when kids want to come in for lunch, but this kid is just so damn sweet, I can't turn him away. He came to Open House last week with his mom, and he introduced me as his lunch buddy.

That's just four kids out of the 125 I have in class every day. I know plenty of other kids will make an impression as the year wears on.


  1. You had me at making fun of Michelle Bachmann.

  2. Sounds like a good group of kids to teach.

  3. Keep changing the future generation Riley. With you rests the future of the United States as it spirals down a whirlpool of destruction. And you should never compare yourself to Bachman. She doesn't believe in evolution because she has yet to evolve and become human.

  4. I've said it before and I'll say it again: you are a good man.

  5. "... Michelle Bachmann discussing Paul Revere."

    Game, set and match, Tim. Fabulous post.


  6. This post is just too damn sweet. ;)

    (Mid-quarter--blows my mind, too! The kids are already fretting about grades.)

    Sounds like your school is making the right kinds of changes, and you're off to a great start, Tim. I imagine those kids are thoroughly enjoying your class.

  7. Oh, happy new school year! Love it that the boys were reading aloud to each other. Thanks for sharing that vision.

  8. Classic line about Michelle Bachmann ha.

    I love the lunch buddy kid and also the two readers, how cute! :)

  9. Love hearing about the different types of kids you have. Keep them coming!