Ms. W

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 22 2008

Posting at Institute! (insert gasp here)

Yes, I am indeed posting at Institute, which means I had enough time to post at Institute! Today I was, fortunately, rather productive and am now ahead of most of my lesson plans for the week. We’ll see how long that lasts. My goal is to avoid last weeks’ debacle, and do one rough draft and one final draft each night. Right now, I’m on track for success. Cross your fingers for me that I can keep it up!

For those of you reading this that are unfamiliar with TFA’s Institute (my family) and for those of you who have yet to go (just you wait!) I’ll describe a little bit what I’ve been up to.

For starters, Institute redefines your conception of “hard work.” I would venture to say that I did not know the definition of hard work until now. I work 24/7. That is not an exaggeration. It’s also not a complaint; I’m fortunate enough to have some awesome people around me who support me through everything, and who are ready to take a much-needed break if the opportunity arises. My roommate is an awesome woman who always makes me feel better, my CMA group (the kids I work with every day at school) is comprised of the coolest kids from all the regions here, and the St. Louis corps is unequaled in its awesomeness. (STL WHAT!) That being said, Institute is a lot of highs and lows for me. I get out of my classroom everyday and am overwhelmed with how much I love my students. They are fantastic. But TFA doesn’t seem to believe in compliments, or down time, so that can creep up on you in a really negative way. Let me break down my day for you:

5:00 AM: Wake up, get ready for school
5:45 AM: Go to breakfast
6:30 AM: Get on the bus to go to the high school!
7:10 AM: We’re at school!
7:30-4:30: Teaching, taking classes from TFA, lunch if it fits, and everything in between
5:00: Back at the dorms, Dinner
6:00PM: Work, work, work work. Sometimes there are other sessions.
12:00 AM: Sleep, repeat.

It’s a long, full day, and it feels like it never stops most days. I’m still alive though, fortunately, and really ready to make it through the last three weeks. I’m trying to keep positive, and work through it all. Friday night I got a nice break to see a movie and go out to dinner, and we’re planning a trip for the 4th of July. I really wish I could be with my family, but I’m trying to make the best of the situation. At least I’ll get to see some fireworks, right?

Anyway, Institute isn’t all that bad, but for those who haven’t been there yet, here are my suggestions:
-BRING YOUR PRINTER! This will save your life.
-Bring some cash. You’ll spend way more than you thought you would.
-Make friends with someone who has a car. I have a car, so this isn’t a big deal for me, but trust me.
-Bring comfy clothes to work in at the dorms. I made the mistake of leaving my sweats at home, and I regret it.
-Think really hard about what you need for your “me” time. If you need to work out, really think about whether or not it’ll be feasible, and if you really need it work REALLY hard to get it.

Anyway, that’s all I got for now. Oh, and for those curious, I am teaching 12th grade English, and I LOVE teaching seniors. They are amazing people. They have so much going on in their lives, and every last one of them is pleasant. My class is also doing really well on my tests, so I think that means they’re learning! (I hope so, at least.)

Here’s to being 40% done, and one step closer to St. Louis!

2 Responses

  1. Ryan

    I’m glad you had enough time to post! How selfless of you to use that precious free time for our enlightenment! :-)

  2. Patricia

    Ditto the Ryan comment. You are missed.

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first-year teaching at its finest ;-)


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