- Time I have to sign in: 6:45
- Time it takes to drive to work: 2 minutes max
- Cell phones collected: 4
- Attempted parent phone calls on first day: 17
- Parents reached: 6
- Times I almost cried in class: 1
- Times I did cry at home: 1
- Time teaching my first day before the first student was sent out: 3 minutes
- Total students: 69
- Black students: 37
- Hispanic students: 21
- Asian students: 6
- "Multi" students: 3
- White students: 2
- Number of boxers I've seen: too many to count
- "Good" kids I've encountered: a majority
This is the kind of school where they send Teach for America teachers (college scholarships in exchange for teaching at America's lowest schools). This is the kind of school that foreign teachers end up in when they apply through "work in America" programs. This place is tough. It's totally like in all the teacher movies, except don't expect me to work any of those miracles in the next two months.
Nonetheless, let me say that it has gone better than my first year teaching and better than when I had to take over another teacher's classes in the middle of the year (2006). Is it me? I'm not sure. Could also be the small class size. It doesn't seem like attendance is a high priority for these kids. I just keep remembering that I've been through a lot worse than this. It's proof to me that I can make it.
They've asked me a million times why I came to teach here, and I get a chance to tell them about my passion for compassion, for working with Latinos, and for teaching. They're curious about my background, my experience, my life. It's the first time I haven't had anything to hide from my students (even if before all I had to hide was my age and lack of experience).
I'm trying to remember as I battle through these days that I'm an ambassador for Christ, Profesora Murray on a Mission. I go with His strength and His purposes, to love every person with a supernatural capacity for mercy and grace. I'm pretty sure some of my students don't see that yet! But I know that within a month things will calm down some.
On a positive note, I want to report that the ESL teacher (from Spain) and all of the Hispanic students assumed that I was a native Spanish speaker after talking with me! The students in particular just kept asking more questions to try to figure out why in the world I speak fluently. Where are you from? Yeah, but, where were you born? Yeah, but, where are your parents from? What?! You're American?As you can imagine, I'm floored. Way to make my day. I've been working on learning Spanish for half of my life, and I'm so happy to know that it's showing.