I’m more than halfway finished with Institute, and I feel like I’ve been here for months and yet not long enough. It’s hard to believe that I’ll be back in Colorado in less than two weeks, supposedly prepared to run my own classroom.
I easily fluctuate between feeling like I have no clue what I’m doing and feeling slightly confident. I watch my students take their daily assessments with nail-biting agony, hoping that they understood what I spent hours and hours preparing to tell them. I celebrate when they understand, and I take it hard when they don’t. Teach For America does a great job of drilling to our heads that all student actions and achievement come from the teachers. Their success is due to me, but more importantly their failure is my own fault. It’s difficult to walk out of a classroom with hard proof that students didn’t master the objective and know that it’s because of me.
On the other hand, failure is expected. It is its own teacher, and everyone here has experienced it. It’s a relief to commiserate with other CMs and share the feeling of failure. And honestly, it just drives me to work harder. Plus I have an AMAZING staff around me as support (my CS is brilliant and I’m convinced that I have the best CMA in TFA).
I’m a workaholic to the core, so this environment is right up my alley. I’ve never worked so hard on so little sleep, and I’ve finally given in to my aversion to regular coffee consumption. When they announced it was TFA Day (Totally Free Afternoon), I returned to my dorm to get some things done before going to the pool. It was quite a glorious afternoon though, topped off with drinks with my fabulous collab.
I will be teaching math for the last two weeks and I’m fully looking forward to it. I’ve already gotten a taste of math instruction in our Academic Intervention Hour (thirty minutes of small-group instruction in both math and reading) and I love it. I even incorporated a bit of movement-based instruction when I taught subtraction of integers. I made a number line on the floor and had them walk down it, turning around twice for two negatives and such. It was energizing. That’s what I love most about teaching–when I’m at the front of the classroom I have more energy than at any other time during the day. I love it.
I want to make the most of these last two weeks of learning and practicing, but I admit I’m anxious to get to Denver. I want to soak up the rest of Institute but start soaking up the mountains and greenery too.