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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 10 2013

My Institute Experience, Thus Far

So, between my PhD program, teaching, session, lesson planning, and well…sleeping, I’ve been quite busy and I have no had the chance to blog.  So here’s my quick and dirty.


Week 1:

This week was basically us getting acclimated to being at Rice University and for some of us being back in a dorm for the first time in years.  I namely had to get used to having to take a shower with flip flops on.  Days are long.  I wake up every day between 5:30-6 and I’m on the bus to my school by 6:45.  I’m the type of person that when I’m up, I’m up so there’s no sleeping on the bus ride to my school.  We are then in sessions from 8am- 5pm.  It’s all great information but it’s like the equivalent of trying to drink from a fire hydrant.  It’s information that you really want and need but it comes in a fashion that is conducive to retention.  This was the week we were introduced to the TFA lesson plan format, and took our first crack at lesson plans which aren’t too bad except for the scripting.  Scripting is basically where I tell in detail what I’m going to say/do and anticipate what students will say/do.


Week 2:

I started teaching this week!  My class is small on average, I have 7-15 kids daily and they are all awesome.  I had some onions to peel but they’ve all come open to me now.  There was some teeth pulling to get some of them to talk but generally my students are engaged and they like me…I think…I like them as well.  Sleep ranged from minimal to optimal this week due to my own procrastination. I’ve know ingrained all of the TFA acronyms and can rattle them off without conscious thought.  Vision and goal and explicit directions are apart of my vernacular and I’m being a Pod person. haha but no really.


Week 3:

I’m deepening my investment in my kids and their investing in me.  They’re performing really well on their exit tickets and at this point, my biggest behavior issue is cell phones and I have one talker.  Bless his heart he’s a talker.  I’ve remedied that by making him my cold call go- to person.  The thing that sucks about how the summer school program is set up, I have students that failed or need credit for both semesters of the subject I teach, but they’re not divided up by semester so I have students that are receiving the same information twice in one day.  So I’m tasked with making the information interactive and challenging and for the most part, my students have risen to the challenge.   I’ve been providing positive reinforcements for participation as well. Sleep came easy this week and I’ve gotten really quick at lesson planning.  Before one lesson plan took an average of 2 hours, and now it only takes about an hour to an hour and a half.  This reduction time is mostly due to the fact that my content area collaborates and shares information.  It makes my planning go really quickly.


Week 4:

I definitely have a groove and rhythm established in my classroom.  My students know that when they come into the classroom, their hand outs are in one place, and their returned exit tickets are in another.  They also know to be in their seats before the bell rings.  We had to give a survey this week to our students in which they were to be very honest and tell us how they felt about us.  My heart melted reading their responses.  This is not to say that I feel like I’ve got this teaching thing in the bag because I know I’ve got miles and miles to go.  However, I am pleased with my progress at least.  I am also very proud of my students because due to the nature of Summer school, I’m fire hosing them with information as well and they are rolling with me.  My adviser/coach/person is freakin’ awesome and I think that my whole CMA group lucked out because I’ve heard horror stories about other CMAs but I have no complaints about mine.

There have been multiple opportunities for social support even though I haven’t taken full advantage of them all because I’ve been more focused on lessons but I like that they’re out there.

More later when I have more time! 3 days left to teach :(



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