The Official Website of Kendel Christensen

The first week of school. It was only four days, including one shortened schedule day. But it felt like about a month of life was drained from my soul. I came to school the first day with a plan. I had a vision and a big goal for the year, I had a management plan, I had prepared procedures.  The only thing I wasn’t prepared for…was high school students.  Looking back on it, I cognitively was aware that they would be radically different from the fourth graders that my summer teaching entailed… But it did really manifest itself in a concrete picture until the first day of school. And boy–what a manifestation! I can’t describe it in words very readily… But picture me on my first day with a pep talk on goal-setting and elaborate, interactive get to know you games. I get past the administrative things like seat assignments and some expectations… I launch into the pep talk and then explain the first game to get to know everyone’s name. 

“i aint doin that”
“yeah, that’s stupid. We’re not kids, and we don’t need to know everyone.”

I was a little stunned for a moment, but I was undeterred. I explained that Spanish class was going to be interactive and would require 100% participation. That got a few people on board and they began to stand up… but the rest of the class—the majority—really had no inclination to do what I said… and I have come to feel (at least so far) that anything listening to the teacher and taking notes… they really won’t do anything without significant coaxing. But I think they will come around. But please, don’t think that I am depressed or start feeling sorry for me. I have only excitement for the future. I am completely dedicated to improving and to finding the right ways to engage and relate to my students. I have complete hope in the prospect that things will get better, and complete faith that things will. One great—nay, excellent—thing about Teach for America is its network of support. I have, literally, dozens of people I can reach out to (and have) who are helping me and just filling me with practical solutions to this and specific content questions. I *know* I will get better at this, and several people are helping me do so every step of the way. This is the way to become a teacher.

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