I love making lists, so here is my summary of week one in Phoenix.
Awesome Things About Institute:
1. Each region has its own common room in the dorm. It’s just like Hogwarts!
2. TFA tends to play loud (and awesome) music in the mornings as we pack our lunches at 6:20AM.
3. Every single person on staff is endlessly nice, friendly, and has a single purpose: helping US. The amount of support here is incredible!
4. I am surrounded by the most intelligent, driven, passionate, talented people I have ever met, and we’re all pursuing the same goal. How cool is that?
5. Wendy Kopp was at the Welcoming Ceremonies. Wendy Kopp!!
6. I’m finally “taking classes” (aka attending sessions) that are at my speed. We get a ton of information in little time and it’s working for me. I may be tired but I know that this info is going to be put to use immediately and for an important purpose.
7. I have the best collab ever. We get along well and are basically awesome.
8. School spirit. I’m totally into it.
9. I’m teaching rising 8th graders, which is awesome. I didn’t expect to be teaching my grade level!
10. KIDS! I love my students already. We gave them a reading assessment so I got one-on-one time with some of them. I got to see what the achievement gap looks like when faced with an 8th grader reading at a 3rd grade level. It’s real and it gives me more reason to work hard.
11. Everyone wakes up between 5 and 5:30AM, so everyone becomes exhausted by 9 or 10PM. Before Institute, I was the lame one who liked to go to bed early, and now everyone is just like me!
It can be difficult, but so far I have succeeded in keeping up my “sense of possibility.” Don’t get me wrong–this is hard work. I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed. I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing a lot of the time. But I am constantly reminding myself why I’m here and all the positive things about this experience. Focusing on the negative does me no good.
The real teaching starts Monday. Problem #1 is getting the students to pronounce my name…