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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 29 2007

Just when you get into a routine…

I attended my first graduate class tonight, yipee!  I am so happy that they are allowing us to do most of the work from home, watching DVDs of lectures rather than attending class.  However, I have been given 15 DVDs and still have a lot more to come, I’m thinking that perhaps I bit off more than I can chew.  I just got the coursework for the 9 credits we earned from institute this summer and it is 19 pages long, filled with descriptions for 3-4 page assignments due before October 1.  I know I shouldn’t be such a whiner, but seriously, it would have been nice to get at least a week break to get my life in order, let alone begin the mounting work load from this summer, added to the mouting workload of graduate classes and being a first year teacher…and don’t forget the extra crap that TFA expects us to do.  Like professional Saturdays, and the 6 assignments that are due tomorrow for each of the 5 subjects that I am teaching…which means 30 time consuming activities, that will inevitably be deemed “a good start” and then I will be expected to rewrite them.  (Such as, setting a big goal, enduring understandings, assessments, long term planning and unit planning.)  Yes, according to TFA I should have my entire year planned out at this point, in all 5 subject areas.  Sure, in theory it sounds like a smart idea for any teacher to know what they are doing, however, it’s day 8 tomorrow, I am I just trying to survive the day without crying in front of my students.  I cannot even wrap my head around next week at this point let alone June.    Never mind that I haven’t even seen my science curriculum or my math curriculum yet or that I am required to follow the same curriculum on the same days as my 3rd grade team.  I know this isn’t the TFA thing to say, but for now, I am going to listen to the institution that signs my checks each week. 

One Response

  1. Anne

    Don’t freak yourself out about the TFA stuff. Every single first year corps member around the country is feeling the same right about now. Are you meeting with your program director tomorrow? Tell them what you are feeling. Tell them what you need help with, and it’s their job to help you figure all of this out. Also, p.s., I never gave TFA my data this year. Surprisingly, I didn’t die, TFA didn’t track me down and kill me, and my kids still managed to learn stuff. They go overboard with the expectations, and it’s definitely overwhelming, but in the end you figure out what *you* need to do in *your* classroom. Long term planning is amazing (it made this past year SO much easier), but pretty much impossible to do in the situation you are in. Just make a goal– maybe to sit down in December and figure out the (basics) for the rest of the year. Even planning a unit at a time (just aims/objectives, not lessons) at some point. I am so impressed by elementary school teachers– I had to do this with two subjects (three if you count reading and writing as separate subjects)– and you have so many more subjects to plan! Trust me, though, the secondary teachers aren’t any more planned than you are right now. So basically, tell your program director what you’ve done, and ask for help with what you need. Hopefully you’ve got someone that will let you ignore all of the TFA bullshit for a while.

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An Elementary School Teacher in the Show Me State

St. Louis
Elementary School
Elementary Education

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