Teaching in the 614

600px-Iowa_614_svgMany misconceptions surround how “easy” it is to be a teacher. For example, have you ever been asked if you chose the education profession because of “summers off”?

Members of CEA work tirelessly to prepare our students for the future. The CEA Blog is proud to announce the beginning of a new series, “Teaching in the 614”. Written by CEA members, it provides an insight into the personal victories and challenges our members experience on a daily basis, working with the students of Ohio’s largest urban school district.

 Click on the link below to read the first installment in this exciting new series.

Editor’s note: The writer of this first installment, Miss Academia is the pseudonym for a first year teacher in Columbus City Schools.

This is my first year in Columbus City Schools, but I taught previously in a suburban high school. I haven’t worked in an urban school district since I was a student teacher– over a decade ago!  

 I was very stressed before the school year began.  I was worried about my classroom management skills—that they wouldn’t be sharp enough for my new students, and not all of them would actively participate in my class.   Active participation by students is crucial to the learning process in my classroom.

 Before school started, I worried “What if my lessons didn’t motivate my students?!!”

To encourage participation, I spend time designing relevant lessons that engage my students as soon as the bell rings.  

After my first few days, I realized that I was absolutely thrilled with the way the students have been participating in class!  Certainly, I have students that I must concentrate on (the ones who think that they can rest their heads in my class – no way!), and I have confiscated several cell phones (most in the hallway – only a couple in class, and the students are learning that they will be taken).  

I think my greatest victory so far is that I have students actually writing paragraphs in my class (I am not teaching a content area that would normally require students to write as much as they currently are writing).  Some of the students volunteered to read their paragraphs to the rest of the class. I also read some of the other students’ work aloud.  

 Their essays are related to class content or to the CCS Mission Statement.  Some students had difficulty writing the minimum number of sentences the first time around, but most of them were willing to add to their previous attempt in order to submit an acceptable response.  That really amazed me – I would’ve assumed that more wouldn’t resubmit a fixed product.  What a great way to start the year!

Writing across the curriculum is extremely important for our students and it is also extremely important to me.  Communication standards should not fall just because students are not in English class.  Students need to be able to explain their thoughts, opinions and processes to others.  I have been amazed at some of the connections my students have made through two different writing prompts.  I cannot wait to read about or listen to their thoughts on the next topic!  I just hope that I can keep challenging them throughout the school year.

I am so very happy with the way my new school year has begun.  I’m excited to return to my classroom each morning, and my days have been flying by!  Many sincere thanks to my fellow faculty, staff, and administrators who have been extremely generous in their helpful advice and answers to my numerous questions.  My students aren’t the only ones learning this last week!

If you are interested in contributing to Teaching in the 614, please email Philip Hayes, Electronic Outreach Coordinator at phayes [at] ceaohio.org.