Diary of a Teacher's First Year

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 13 2011


In 8 days I will pack up my honda civ with my twin XL sheets, shower shoes, fan (oh my gosh, I will miss sleeping with air conditioning), and about 10lbs of pre-Institute work (that I still haven’t finished-yikes). I’ll head to Teach for America (TFA) Institute, located at St. John’s University, where I will live for the next 5 weeks while I am “inducted” into TFA.

When I accepted my offer to join TFA, way back in November, I knew this boot camp like teacher training program was part of the deal. I have kind of accepted the awfulness of dorm living and the intensity of this 5 weeks as the price I have to pay for being a lucky duck and getting accepted into TFA. There are people all over NY who are desperate to land a teaching job…many of whom I know are more qualified than myself, in terms of a college degree. I have a BA in English, no formal education training. So, even though I have to spend 5 weeks of summer living in a dorm room, with new roommates, showering with flip flops, and getting very little sleep…I’m very lucky, and even excited.

I’ll be meeting, living, and working with hundreds of first year teachers, like myself, and we will have the “name, college, where are you from” conversation a billion times while eating cafeteria food at the campus dining hall (I really hope there is a fro-yo machine).

And, of course, there will be teaching!! In July, I will be teaching summer school (grade/subject level: unknown).

I haven’t lived in a dorm since 2002 and I haven’t worked with kids in over a year. I need to head to Bed, Bath & Beyond for a good mattress pad and then work on my teacher stare (the look a really good teacher can give a student that non verbally says “stop talking” or “pay attention” or “don’t you dare throw that chair”).

4 Responses

  1. Rich Taubald

    Glad to hear from you Tara. We are so proud of you and know you will do well. You have the intelligence, persistence, patience and personality to deal with all situations and be successful.
    Looking forward to a party in summer of ’12 to celebrate your one year anniversary as a teacher.
    Love and best wishes
    Uncle Rich and Aunt Doris

  2. Kristen Montello

    Yayy Tazzie! you’ll have fun living in the dorms again…even with the shower shoes lol. i can’t wait to hear the teaching stories once you meet your summer school kids. good luck!! you’ll be great!! <3 you!!

  3. Joanne Camuto

    Yes, Tara, you are lucky…but you earned it! I don’t envy the dorm, but I do know that feeling of excitement. I was blessed to have felt it everyday for 35 yrs. and I know you will too! Loving what you do will bring you so much joy! I wish you continued success….but most of all…have FUN!!

  4. Ms. Jackson

    I haven’t lived in a dorm since 2002 either! good luck to you and that teacher stare :)

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