Heads Carolina, Tails California

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 08 2011

The end of institute, the beginning of an era…

Okay. I failed. I failed miserably… at keeping this blog updated and accurate. But I think I seriously underestimated how much I would work during Institute when I set out with this blog. That being said, Institute has been over and done with for a few weeks now. But now that I can look back on Institute in reflection, one thought keeps coming to mind: it wasn’t that bad.

Granted, the majority of us in this program are Type A personalities that are used to constantly being recognized for over-achieving, suddenly placed in positions where we feel like we’re floundering. But honestly, Institute wasn’t that bad. And I’m saying that after enduring 2 hour-long bus rides with no air conditioning in the brutal Mississippi heat. I’m saying that after teaching for 2 hours each day in a non air conditioned classroom (sometimes none in the school at all) where our thermostat showed it to be 88-90 degrees each day. The point is, everyone told me how hard it Institute was going to be, the most difficult experience of my life. In truth, it was simply challenging. No one told me how easy it was going to be to get up every morning for my students. It was easy dealing with all of hard stuff because the good things about teaching are soooo good. And I mean a “better than chocolate and red wine” kind of good.

At any rate, I’m so proud of all of my students – all of them achieved growth, and as a class we hit 96%. I don’t think I closed my students’ achievement gap by any means, but I think some of them began to see possibility and that they really are smart and capable. That’s worth more than numbers to me, but the numbers are still important.

I’m glad to not be in the stifling heat, or eating the illustrious food from RFOK. Okay, who am I kidding, my roommate and I ate more comfort food and binges from Sonic’s and McDonald’s while watching How I Met Your Mother than should be permissible under federal law. I’ll miss my students, but not that bus ride.

Peace out Institute. I came. I saw. I taught.

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