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Battling the many distractions to learning

 I was really looking forward to my AP English class today.

It’s the first time I’ve seen my students since last Friday. Classes usually meet four times a week. But with Monday’s holiday, Wednesday’s PSAT, and tomorrow’s field trip to the city college fair, today was my only chance this week with my students.

I had so much planned: a Socratic seminar on Oedipus, essays to turn in, a new online assignment, an introduction to Beloved.

Then came the fire alarm.

I’m convinced we have four times the number of fire alarms than any other school in the United States. When I taught at a suburban school, I don’t remember so many.

I’m convinced it’s part of a conspiracy to limit the opportunities of urban students of color.

I’m exaggerating, of course. But I’m struck by how many distractions there are to the flow of learning. Even though my students are flexible and can negotiate the twists and turns at our school, I get mad that they have to.

We have a lot of work to do, after all.

The good news is, The class was still successful, though I had to shorten the Beloved activity. This seems part of a pattern: I’m doing well pushing my students’ writing and analysis, but I could be doing much more to help my students understand the books more deeply. 

Please share your brilliant insights!