Heads Carolina, Tails California

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 18 2011

Week 1: planning, planning, and more planning…

Week One: 2 Lesson Plans, a Behavior Management Plan, a Student Investment Plan, and countless plans to make more plans.

As you should be able to tell, this week (and most other weeks, I’d imagine) will be about planning. Planning for content, what to do when things go awry, what to do when things go well, and what to do if things just don’t even go at all.

It’s been an intense week – probably one of the more intense weeks of my life, but in a good way. People often compare Institute to never-ending finals, and I think that’s true with one major exception. Unlike finals week, we actually like what we’re doing and chose to be doing it. Yes, the work is hard, the hours long, and the work challenging, but ultimately it’s what I’ve chosen to do, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

We’ve spent all week at our school sites, which has been an experience to say the least. Every morning my alarm goes off at 4:45, we battle mosquitos to get breakfast/lunch (I discovered on Monday that opting for more sleep and trying to go a day without breakfast/lunch is crazy, oops), and then saunter over to the buses for an hour long ride in a non-air conditioned bus to the high school. Our days consist mainly of sessions on planning, management, investment, and smaller CMA group sessions specific to my content area. We’re at school sites until 4/4:30 ususally, meaning I’m gone from 6 a.m. until roughly 5/5:30 p.m. daily.

My saving grace, however, are the people I get to spend these brutal days with. My roommate turned out to be one of my friends from Induction, and we’ve already discovered that free redbox movies and Sonic slushies make the world a better place. My Colab (the person who teaches my kids math during second block) is awesome. We’ve come together really well, and it helps that I really enjoy spending time with her, because it makes the workload far easier to cope with. The other half of our teaching team (meaning the teachers my kids have for ELA) are also ridiculously chill, one of them being another friend of mine from Charlotte. So really, I lucked out in the teaching department, even if being on a hot, humid bus for two hours a day really feels like a drag at times.

I also should note, we live in the country club dorms. I say this because my room has 14 foot ceilings, private en suite bathroom, an external sink/mirror/built in cabinet space, and glorious air conditioning. The hallways are even styled with carpet and painted walls instead of the typical white cinder block dorm décor one usually finds.

The reserve firefighters threw us an awesome catfish fry yesterday, complete with rock climbing wall, volleyball courts, games, and a band. Life in the Delta really is kind of awesome so far and I’m stoked to get my kids on Monday.

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