Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 09 2007

“well it’s a hot one, like seven inches from the midday sun…”

It’s currently a toasty 95º in Philadelphia, and although we didn’t hit the high of 98, it’s still a horrible time to teach in a school without air conditioning (and live in a dorm room that hasn’t really had it for over a week). We teachers were none too chipper this morning as we thought about the sweaty and generally unpleasant day awaiting us and our students. Even more frustrating than the heat itself was its effect on our students. Many chose not to come today, and the few that did come were inattentive and just as pleased to be there as we. When we only have 18 days of learning time, it’s really critical that the kids show up every day, and the fact that the HEAT factors into their attendance is absolutely infuriating (anger directed at the school district, not the students – I wouldn’t want to come to school on a day like this either). It made for an interesting lesson for me. I had one student for the first 20 minutes, and because Jamil is smart and he was the only one, I had pretty much finished the lesson by the time Brandi came in. I set Jamil to work on a practice set while I got Brandi up to speed. Fortunately, they both mastered the grammatical concept (another tense) so well that when Mercedes walked in near the end of my hour, I turned to Brandi and Jamil and asked them to summarize what they’d learned. It was a nice solution for all involved. I hope the rest of my students come back tomorrow – we called home today and talked to parents, so I think they’ll probably be back tomorrow. I had another positive conversation with a parent – they really are so excited when teachers show an interest in their students. It’s so rare for teachers in any school to call home, and I’m glad it’s so easy to do something that will make a big difference.

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