So, we are through day three, although each day feels way longer. So far we have been attending workshop after workshop, so the day doesn’t move very quickly although we do get a ton of information. Somehow a day of sitting in workshops can feel exhausting, but I’m trying to take as much from them as I can. The biggest changes from day one are that now I have a better understanding of who exactly I’ll be working with this summer. I’ve met the teachers from my region, my advisor, my advisement group, the team that runs the school I’ll be teaching at, and the team I’ll be teaching with. I co-teach with three other teachers, and that will be one of the most interesting aspects of this process since I have never had to do much collaborative work. Even in college, I always convinced my professors to let me out of group work. It’s interesting to start to see what kinds of work styles my co-teachers have and what they seem to prioritize here. Although working in a group makes things like lesson planning go a little slower, it will help prepare me for co-teaching in fall.
It’s interesting, right now everything is moving at a glacial pace because we basically sit in one place all day listening to lectures, but when we start teaching on Monday I think everything will ramp up really quickly. We will be teaching and having meetings and attending workshops and lesson planning each day, so things will go from really slow to super-fast. Even though I’m extremely nervous to teach math, and am already having trouble with the curriculum, I am excited to meet our kids and start teaching. I am here to become a better educator, and once we start I’ll get feedback from my kids, my co-teachers, my advisor, the district teacher who will watch our group, and more. It seems like a lot, but that’s the only way to improve. Also, over the past three days it has been so easy to focus on myself and my troubles and anxieties here, and I expect that once we start teaching it will be really stressful, but my focus will shift away from me and onto my kids.
The best part of yesterday was definitely a visit we got from Ms. Darren, a veteran teacher who is running the summer school program. She’s not at all affiliated with TFA, and she’s been working in Chicago schools her whole career. She gave us great, extremely useful advice, which was awesome after hours of theory, but more than that, she just had this warmth and toughness when she spoke to us that screamed “teacher.” You could see exactly how she operates in the classroom, and as she stood and spoke her genuine love for the career was so inspiring. Everyone who works at TFA is extremely encouraging and peppy and young. They are constantly smiling and reminding us about “this movement.” They are motivating, but Ms. Darren brought a different, more genuine sort of energy. She’s the kind of teacher I aspire to be.