Ok so I have been horribly remiss in updating this site. I survived institute at Georgia Tech and have moved into my new place back in M-E-M-P-H-I-S. Couldn’t have imagined how challenging TFA’s Institute training would prove to be. In addition to learning an entirely new skill set full of lesson planning, scaffolding, scheduling objectives, designing assessments, and executing in front of a class for the first time I found myself pushed to change my mindsets and work with others closer than I have ever done before.
I was hardly perfect in my outcomes, my planning, or pretty much any aspect of my time in Atlanta. It was so odd to fall flat on my ass for the first time and be genuinely crappy at something I put so much effort into. My behavior management started out rocky, I was challenged by the math content I was tasked to deliver, and oftentimes I found myself curling up in my CMA room after lesson to nap because I was physically exhausted.
About half way through my experience I got to the point where I could reasonably control the class but the achievement piece wasn’t there at all. I am not a naturally reflective person. Generally I can just try something else or out work an issue. This experience required me to diagnosis tiny behaviors to find underlying faults not with the students but with myself. For the first time in my life I think I understand what it means to be accountable for something really important. It is on my if these kids don’t pass the CRCT (I hear the scores are in and can’t wait to hear how my 8th grade Math scholars fared).
In honor of the 2012 TFA application opening this week let me set the record straight on about institute. Institute is hard as hell and you will be pushed harder and challenged more than you have ever been in your life. However, if you got into TFA in the first place you can handle it. The thing that kept me going was the fact that I hate to fail and I hate to lose. With that in mind I didn’t mind looking silly in front of my students doing crazy lessons, I wasn’t too proud to ask for the help I desperately needed, and I got through the days I wanted to leap from that 2nd story window. You go into this trying to change the world for the better but after Institute I realized you stay in this because of the individual kids in the classroom and not some abstract notion of equity. The achievement gap sucks but more upsetting than any statistics are the 8th graders who can’t read or add. Thats gonna be my inspiration for being the best teacher I possibly can, the kids I taught this Summer.