Lessons and Learnings

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 26 2012


It took me about 4 days to finish this post.  What can I say?  It’s been one of those experiences…

I hate reflection.  Seriously, I hate it.  Reflection makes me overanalyze and overanalyzing causes me to stress and stress causes me to stop sleeping and lack of sleep makes me burst into tears very quickly.  I’ve gotten teary eyed quite a few times this week at happy stories and sad stories.  At seeing people begging for money, at learning about the bottle tax, and fear of fainting from dehydration when we couldn’t drink water at one of the schools because of lead pipes.  This has been an emotionally exhausting week.  I AM TIRED.

But as much as I dislike reflection, it is so very important.  I have been a huge reflector for years (and as my ramble above implies, lost a lot of sleep).  Truth be told, the past couple years have not given me a lot of time to reflect.  I have to move myself and my family’s lives forward.  Put food on the table, paid bills, ran errands.  I never stopped to look at where my life is going.  Four short days changed all of that.

I have had apprehensions.  Hopefully I won’t get bombarded for saying that.  I have been scared and frustrated and terrified at this experience.  And I have come to realize that I DO believe in TFAs mission.  I just don’t agree with everything my fellow CMs interpret it as. I have read a LOT about TFA – good, bad, and REALLY bad.   And I have come to realize one thing – this experience is what you make of it.

TFA is often chastised for portraying a naive message and for sending kids into areas were violence prevails and they aren’t prepared for reality.  After listening to sessions this past week, I’ve realized TFA DOES TELL YOU THE BAD THINGS most people just choose to ignore them.  I wish they had spoken a little more about the negative aspects and given us strategies to overcome them but I guess that comes at institute.

Here’s the deal – we are going to be teaching in areas a lot of our parents would have told us to stay out of, especially after dark.  We are going to be teaching in areas with gangs, prostitution, drugs and violence.  If you think for ONE SECOND that you’ve got this, you’ve got it wrong.  Yeah, this is a movement to aim for better equity in our schools but that doesn’t mean YOU are going to change the school in one year.  I AM IN CHARGE OF MY CLASSROOM (hopefully).  I choose the environment.  I choose the materials.  I choose how I treat the kids.  I do not choose what my administration does, how my school looks, or the colors of paint on the walls.  I’m part of a movement, but I know that I am not going to be the only solution.

About this Blog

But there were lessons learned

High School

Subscribe to this blog (feed)