Saturday, June 16

Institute: Week One

But first a flashback to pre-institute: At my interview last Thursday I found out that I will be teaching 9th grade English. Woo! Pretty pumped. The administrators and teacher I met were very nice and seemed happy to have us coming in, they have extremely high turnover, there's been three 9th grade English teachers in the last two years. But they seemed pretty positive and are working on a lot of programs to improve student achievement. Oh, and, I will in fact be living on a trailer on school property. Awesome.

Friday we packed up a few cars and started down the long road to Houston. Stop 1 was Witchita where some people had to take the Praxis test. Stop 2 was Denton, TX where were did some serious birthday partying as seen here.

Sunday we finally made it to lovely Moody Towers at the University of Houston (the two grey towers at the forefront of the picture) which we now call home along with the other 750 corps members here.

The registration process was pretty indicative of what was to come, we were whipped around several stations picking up and signing things while staff actually timed us and kept track of their registration room efficiency. Efficiency is the name of the game around here. Monday my bus to get to the school I'll be working at this summer left at 6:35 a.m. as it does every day. The first week has been very tough adjusting to TFA culture. We're kept on a super tight schedule with lots of rules and limits as they try to instill us with a sense of urgency to learn as much as possible while we're here so we can be effective in the classroom. It's pretty insane. The super structuredness definitely rubs me the wrong way, but I'm beginning to see the necessity of it. Week One is all sessions on things like lesson planning and classroom management. Week Two we start actually teaching kids in summer school. Ah! I'm teaching 9th grade English which works out well. I'll be splitting the 105min block into two periods with my collaborative partner. Our first lesson is on main ideas and supporting details. I still have a lot a lot of work to do preparing it. Teaching real stuff is way harder than the random fun lessons about cowboys that I got to teach in Germany. But I'm excited about the challenge and looking forward to really diving in and pushing myself. It's excited to be with 750 other people doing the same thing because they feel so passionately about reforming education and closing the gap. Pretty inspiring.

Last night I got eight hours of sleep for the first time in a long time and now I'm going to finish my laundry, iron some stuff that has been wrinkly since leaving DC and then get to work on some main ideas and supporting details.

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