Thursday, November 8

Week 10

Can I really have been teaching for 10 weeks now? Was I ever not a teacher? I feel like I can't remember a time when I didn't go by Ms.

This week has been pretty good. And pretty bad. Kinda like all of my weeks. I'd say mostly good on this one though. Kids have been making me laugh a lot lately and I've been having fun joking around with them. I'm starting to feel that some of them at least genuinely like me. At least I'm assuming that the girls who come hang out in my room after school even when they don't have work must like me a little bit. Persuasive writing is turning out to be more fun than expected. What made it for me anyway was a student, trying to incite me, saying that he was going to write his essay about how only native teachers should be aloud to teach at our school and I said, "Yes! That's a great topic. I totally agree." The look of disappointment and shock on his face was priceless. Then we had a short discussion about why there aren't enough native teachers, but I don't think I managed to convince any of them that they should become teachers. Not yet anyway.

On Monday a TFA program director came and observed my classroom. I mentioned in my last post not really feeling like I was being supported by TFA, I should probably explain. It isn't their fault, the person who should be my program director was in a roll over car accident toward the beginning of school and has been back and forth to her home in St. Louis getting treatment for back injuries. South Dakota is a very tiny TFA corps, and only has two program directors, so now we're down to one. Meeting with him on Monday was a very good thing. I needed a big push in the right direction in my teaching. A lot of it was stuff I knew I should be doing, but wasn't. I needed someone to be there to hold me to high expectations as a teacher because my school definitely does not.

So I'm trying. I'm tracking data and unveiling big goals the way a TFA corps member should be. We'll see how much it helps my students. For now the TFA teaching model is the only one I know, so I may as well try to do it as best as I can.

Last weekend we had a TFA professional development meeting in Pierre and there were a couple recruiters there from the national office to give a presentation on working for them after the corps experience. For a non-profit, TFA is absurdly corporate. Basically their plan is to take over the country and then the world. And that is hardly a hyperbole. Don't believe me? Check out their growth plan. And their plan to take over the world. It's a pretty incredible organization whether you think it's a good organization or not, you have to be blown away by the strategy and efficiency. I have vague ambitions of working for TFA Minneapolis, or better yet, TFA Berlin sometime in the future.

As for life outside of teaching.... hahahahahaha, as if.

Just kidding, there's a little more than that. There was a pretty rockin' TFA Halloween party a few weeks back. And I went on a very spontaneous weeknight try to Rapid City to see a production of Evita with some other teachers last week. This weekend I'm going to Omaha and Lincoln and I cannot tell you how excited I am to see the inside (or outside) of a shopping mall!

I hope you're all doing well and that this post at least somewhat satisfies your burning desire to know what life is like out here on the rez, feel free to comment if you have questions or there is something you want to hear about!


Mark said...

Teach For All seems incredibly ridiculous and amazing at the same time for me. Getting highly motivated people involved in helping others is amazing, but then again, it's a model that's based on America schooling, which is not exactly the greatest.

What initially attracted me to TFA (teaching for 2 years) has quickly become what I see as a major flaw in the teaching scheme. I don't know about you, but at least down here in the Valley the other teachers seem (for the most part) incredibly competent. I know that I'm filling a gap, which by all counts is a GOOD thing, but I just think that TFA is aiming its target market at too late an age. With the increasing size of the organization and mounds of support, why don't they start picking out students from low income areas, send them to college with scholarships to learn how to TEACH and create a lifetime teacher? You'd get at least 4 years of training instead of a summer, potentially more buy-in from low income areas, and the student is invested because often teaching is one of the better paying jobs in the areas. Just my two cents. I've also had several margaritas.

writer/ traveler/ teacher said...

Nice entry. Kinda makes me want to do TFA... as if my experience at one of the worse schools in Southern Chile wasn't enough ;)

p.s. I'm a teacher too! you should put me under Teacher blogs!