Challenging myself

I work in a low economic, culturally diverse, inner-city school.  Many people don’t believe they exist in Iowa, but I show up there every day.  This year is incredibly challenging.  The entire 2nd grade is scoring extremely low on their entrance testing.  As a group lower than I have ever seen them. 

My teaching partners and I are in a bit of a panic.  It is obvious that this groups needs something drastic and DIFFERENT.  I know that the first grade teachers worked like crazy with these children last year.  Yet nothing seems to have stuck with half of these children. 

Yesterday we took a basic math test- addition and subtraction facts to 12.  Almost half my class failed.  Many of my children couldn’t tell me the difference between an addition or a subtraction sign.  We have worked on this for a month and it is review.  Reading is equally concerning.  Many don’t know all of there consonant sounds.  The other second grade is equally low.

I went to my principal yesterday and just laid it all on the table.  I told her that we need to think outside of the box about how to use this time with these children.  Thankfully she listened to me.  We are evaluating our schools resources and developing a second grade intervention.  She has freed up four teachers at the end of the day for a focused phonics/word work/ reading group and is trying to find another person to help with math.

Currently I have a student teacher for the next two weeks.  I will use this time to develop some long term plans and specific goals for these children. 

My goals for these children are simply stated, but complicated in application.  I want these children to read on grade level and master 2nd grade math skills.  It sounds easy. 

Personally I am going to start each morning with prayer.

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One thought on “Challenging myself

  1. Your students are so fortunate to have you as their teacher. While they will be a challenge, you are probably one of the best teachers I know, with a fantastic arsenal of ideas available (either through what you’ve read, your colleagues, or on-line).

    I admire that you went in to advocate (quite honestly) for your students. Because of who you are as a teacher, you obviously were able to make sure your principal understood the scope of the issue and was willing/able to ensure resources.

    What I admire most, though, is that you have HIGH standards for these students. Rather than dismissing them, the circumstances or assigning blame, you are challenging yourself to do right by them.

    You are amazing.

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