Mr. Van Owen is a 2008 member of Teach for America's New York City Corps.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
First day of school
So the first day of school went off without a hitch, and I have to admit that I am more excited now that I have been all summer about the year ahead. Now I'm sure that my attitude might change after a few weeks, but as of right now I'm pretty optimistic about the coming school year.
The day started off well with my homeroom class of 30 seventh graders. Now, that's the biggest class I've ever taught, at any level, so this morning, before school, I was worried I wouldn't be able able initiate strong classroom management routines. Fortunately, things went well considering I kept 30 seventh graders in their seats, and quite for the most part. **Pats myself on the back**
However, my good will towards the year was fully fostered during my seventh grade literacy (reading and writing) class later in the day. This time, I only had about 15 students, and they all seemed genuinely excited about our goals for the year. I explained to them that it was our job this year to make sure that they're ready to apply for high school at the beginning of eighth grade (in NYC, student apply to go to high school). At one point, one young lady's eyes were so big with anticipation that I thought they were going to pop out of her head (okay, I exaggerate a bit, but they seemed interested in our October/November unit on speech and debate (to go along with the presidential elections).
We'll see what tomorrow brings. I get to meet my eighth graders and my newsletter class for the first time. Again, I'm optimistic!
moved to New York City in June 2008 to start summer institute for Teach for America. He attended the University of Florida, where he earned both his master's and bachelors' degrees. He teaches English, literacy, and writing to seventh and eighth graders, as well as advises the school newspaper, yearbook, and student council. His school is in Washington Heights, NY.