Teaching Spanish in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 16 2012

El fin de Institute

Institute ended on Friday. The First 8 Week Kick-Off  (it’s basically more training) began yesterday and ends on Wednesday. Then I get to be a real person again, it’ll be refreshing to get away from cafeteria food and the dorm lifestyle.

I’m not even sure where to start.  Institute ended so quickly and a lot of people that were here for Institute are placed in different regions like Alabama, Appalachia, South Louisiana, Memphis, Nashville, and maybe some others.  When things ended on Friday people left almost immediately that same night. It feels a little empty on campus now. It’s a bit reflective of how I am feeling too.  Only last week this time we were still in the full swing of things, teaching everyday… planning for our students to take their final assessments.  All of a sudden we have some free time and in the morning we get to sleep in until 6:45am. It’s weird. I feel like I should be constantly doing something.

Last  Thursday I probably had my most “emotional” day of Institute. Earlier in the week we had calculated that all of our students would pass. But by Thursday we realized that we had to recalculate weighing scores from their previous 2 summer school teachers heavier that we had originally.  AND our students were supposed to get a 70% average on the final assessment (at the beginning of Institute they scored 33-50s).  So Thursday night, it looked like only 3 of our 10 students would pass. Everyone in my teaching team was horrified, stressed, and overall feeling like failures.  The worst part for me was knowing that my students really had grown and done a lot of work over the summer, but it was a numbers game and a standardized test that we didn’t prepare them for that was going to potentially hold them back another grade (or for some students, it was their last chance so the potential for dropping out if they failed was incredibly high).  But thankfully due to some changes and flexibility we found out on Friday that ALL of our students passed. I almost cried in the hallway.

Although I am glad my students passed, I am critical if my students actually are prepared for the next grade level. Teaching English Language Arts was amazing… amazingly empowering, amazingly challenging, and amazingly eye-opening about how far behind my students are.  I am now looking forward to teaching Spanish, transferring my knowledge of teaching literacy into foreign language. It’ll be different, but I want to believe it will be just as important.

I already miss my students. Friday W. texted me and said, “Thank you ms Lin for all that you have done to help me im going to save ur number and keep you all in contact.”  The same student wrote on the board a few days earlier, “Ms. Lin is my favorite teacher……… in summer school.”  It’s incredibly heart warming :D It reminds me of a quote a fellow CM said about her first day of teaching, “I’m just thinking these kids are going to get stupid just because I’m standing up here.”   Regardless of our insecurities, I feel like we were really able to make a difference in some of these students’ lives.


In other news. I have a house! I haven’t quite signed the lease yet, but my housemate and I have put down a deposit. It is gorgeous and at an affordable price. There are hardwood floors, a fireplace, 3 bedrooms 2 baths, a deck, a creepy basement, appliances, nice neighborhood, everything minus furniture.  I’ll be going to El Dorado on Wednesday night then family is coming down with stuff on Saturday. So excited to move in and be settled.

My next post will be a story of why I am here and why I continue to do TFA, so get excited!

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    About this Blog

    Stories and reflections about the TFA experience in the Delta.

    Mississippi Delta
    High School
    Foreign Language

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