Heads Carolina, Tails California

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 14 2011

The End of the Beginning…

Disclaimer:  I wrote this on the last day of induction, just hadn’t found time yet to post it.  So here are my final reflections on my introduction to TFA, or “Tea-fa” as we have taken to calling it.

Induction. It sounds rather ominous and foreboding, doesn’t it? Even now as I sit in my dorm room at JCSU, I still find myself trying to process the past four days.

K, my epic road trip partner (2,402 miles in 3 days, including a 26 hour stretch straight from CA to Memphis), arrived here on Sunday – still basking in the surreal-ness of officially starting our time in the corps. We kept asking each other if we were ready, how it felt that this was finally all “real.” Since we got in on Sunday, we were able to start mingling with the early arrivals of our corps and head out to explore the city with some 2010s.

On our first day of Induction, we spent the afternoon with awkward introductions, and speeches/activities geared towards acclimating us to the TFA pace of life. I do have to admit, for all the stress that was placed on our arriving on time for sessions, I found it amusing that many of our sessions started late – actually, many of our sessions throughout the week seemed to start late.

Days two and three were filled with sessions on diversity & inclusiveness and poverty. I have to say that I know TFA is coming from a place of good intentions, but many times it almost felt as if they were showing preferential treatment to certain minority groups over others – suggesting that some of them could more profoundly impact their students. It’s interesting in light of the fact that a significant portion of the students we serve are men, and an alarmingly small amount of corps members are men themselves.

The second half of Induction was better, I’ll admit. The 2010’s were a blast – and they gave us a grand introduction to our new city. The thing that I’ll take away most from this week isn’t that the achievement gap is closable (the realist in me is skeptic), it’s that for the students I have these coming years, I will be making a difference for them. They are my focus, and they are the reason I’m here. My mind isn’t focused on some broader movement because my classroom at hand demands and deserves my full attention. And that’s precisely what they’ll get.

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