Chronicles of a first year math teacher

Hi allow me to introduce myself my name is Vinay Bhat(aka Mr.Bhat). And I teach Algebra 1 at Progreso High School. For those of you who don’t know where Progreso High School is it’s in a town called Progreso, TX which is like only a minute away from the border of Mexico. Weird eh? Believe me the culture shock still hasn’t worn off yet even though I pretty spent most of childhood in Deep South Texas. The difference between all of the other towns down hear and that border town is that that border town is mostly populated with Spanish speaking families with absolutely no English background at all. Making my job even more challenging as I have to learn conversational Spanish and integrate that into my classroom once in a while. Which I haven’t quite done yet as I haven’t started learn in Spanish but do not fear because it will happen! And believe me when I say this but teaching at a town like Progreso is like teaching in a foreign country! The experience is that valuable!


It’s been an adventure no doubt! Although I wouldn’t call it the most pleasant of adventures it has truly been a learning experience. Discipline management is probably one of the most challenging aspects of teaching as you have to mold every student in your classroom into a star pupil. The reality, however, is that you can’t modify every students attitude but you can work hard enough to ensure that one student will credit you for their success. But the first year won’t guarantee you any such promises. All those “don’t smile”  lectures and “how to never give up” speeches. Veteran teachers may give you advice but at the end of the day it won’t matter because the fact of the matter is you will have to commit a mistake before realizing how to act in a particular situation.


Let’s see I’d describe this past Friday as an average day. Yes our day ended prematurely with a peprally. Well technically for me as well, as I had assigned a couple of students from my 2nd period class after-school detention. I felt a little awkward laying down this law to them on a Friday but I couldn’t help it. I anticipated some type of cooperative effort between the two in disrupting my classroom about two weeks ago when I had noticed these weird vibes being exchanged between the two during a test. I would see them smirking at one another and then at me all at the same time. Maybe it was that scary look I was giving them I don’t know. But whatever it was I could sense it and unfortunately my premonitions were correct because today was the first day they worked together to disrupt my class. And so I’m yet to call one of the students parents as they haven’t answered my phone for like the gizzillionth time nor have the bothered to return my message. Maybe I was overreacting to the situation but when an outbreak like that takes place in your classroom SPLAT you nip it in the butt right away before it gets out of control. That’s exactly what it felt like Friday when those two students attempted to create a circus hoping the relinquish control of the boss in my classroom. Kids have such tendencies you know to all you first year teachers be on the lookout.


And it’ll be an uphill battle struggle where the state test is concerned administered every April in Texas. It’s called the TAKS and apparently 61% of my students passed it last year. Not bad considering my district, Progreso ISD, has gone a long way. But teaching math at such underpriveleged areas can be quite the challenge. The students don’t wanna learn and so do we really wanna push them? Of course because then principals and other administrators will start to curse us out towards our pink slips. So the question is how do we push them? Believe me I’m still trying to figure that out and any feedback on that front would be greatly appreciated. You pretty much have to be vigil with these kids while also showing them that you care. Arduous task by cards are all on IT CAN HAPPEN and IT WILL!


Like I said any feedback would be greatly appreciated whether you’re a rookie or a veteran in teaching so comment away!


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