'Ohana Means Family

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 24 2012

Institute 2012- Past the half way point

Wednesday marked the half way point for Phoenix Institute and we’re still chugging. It may be surprising that I have time to write a blog but institute just keeps getting… more manageable. Going in to institute I heard horror stories of what life at institute was like, but I also received the best advice possible, “Institute is what you make it”. It’s been hard, it’s been challenging, stressful, and tiring. But it’s also been fun, educational (hehe), and amazing.

By completing all the prework prior to arriving at institute I felt pretty prepared for what I was going to be experiencing. It’s a lot of work, there’s no way around it. There’s also a lot of deadlines that seemingly pop up but se la vie. being flexible is key.

The hardest was the first week of teaching when I got food poisoning on top of having three lesson plans due, but i made it through and had a really great day in the classroom.

There have also been some collab problems I’ve faced personally, I know not everyone’s institute experience is the same but the easiest way for me to describe it is that having done all the pre-work, it’s really challenging when you try to do something the ‘TFA way’ in accordance with the sessions you have been attending, the pre-work, and what your FA, CS, and CMA are telling you to do and you’re met with constant challenging and intimidation (almost to the point of bullying). A lot of that occurred the first two weeks. It’s gotten better especially when one is given the wake up call of actually being in the classroom but even now, it’s still happening on occasion. Luckily, the CMA’s at the school are even noticing more than I myself am. I have just kind of adopted the mindset of go with the flow and picking my battles. If it is something that I strongly disagree with, I have gone against what the collab has decided and implemented my own thing during my hour of teaching. This, though it goes against the group think, has actually worked for the better in my class.

I am enjoying teaching, I’m enjoying my students, and as nerdy as it is, I am enjoying all of the cessions. Personally, it’s this mindset that has really gotten me through institute thus far. If you just open yourself to the abundance of information that is being given to you, it really makes everything SO much easier. For those wondering, if you can’t already tell, I am drinking the koolaid. I am all about TFA, the methods, the backwards planning, the BMC (seriously the B.E.S.T. thing ever).

Also, very very very fortunate for my CMA. Just left a session with her, went over how to visually track students in a way that would work best for the students to be able to see our successes as a class and she was very helpful! Made it really clear and I’m excited to put up my tracker tomorrow.

So, institute is hard, but it’s totally worth it. I am loving every stressful minute of it. As my mom said today on the phone, “it’s great you’re getting this training and support now before you even get to region”. I couldn’t imagine diving in right away, the first few days an hour was hard, but now it’s getting easier and I feel pretty confident that a whole day won’t seem so bad once I’m in Indy.

Now, back to lesson planning.


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