Diary of a Teacher's First Year

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 25 2011

Post Induction…Pre Institute

Induction, TFA’s week long orientation ended yesterday; and Institute, TFA’s 5 week long teacher training program, begins tomorrow.

Induction was full of surprises. The first being a fire alarm in the middle of the night, on day one. I leaped out of my (awfully hard) bed and ran for the exits, Michael Scott from the Office style, while screaming at my suitemates to wake up. When it happened again, 3 hours later, I did the same thing. I can only imagine a fire drill as a teacher…I’m a little scared that I’ll run out without my kiddos. I’m kidding serious.

My Kinder, 1st, or 2nd grade General Education placement has been changed to Special Eduction (!!) and probably in third or fourth grade (in the same school). This didn’t scare me quite as much as the possibility of being trapped in a burning dorm building, but it was still a surprise. I’m actually getting pretty excited about the switch to speducation. But, who knows if things will change again before August 22 (first day of school!!!).

Not surprisingly, I spent most of the week going from one information session to another. Favorite session of the week was a panel discussion about District 79. Three students and their guidance counselors talked about their experiences, offered advice, and answered questions about teaching and being a student in this alternative school district (serves HS students that are placed in involuntary settings; like jail or drug rehab centers; or that want to get their GED). I was practically sobbing while listening to one 18 year old tell her story of drug abuse and incarceration that put her in about nine different schools and eventually to District 79. She is back on track, graduating from HS this summer, and credits the relationship with a guidance counselor at her school that gave her one last chance. I know this all sounds pretty cheesy, but I thought her story was incredibly inspiring (and I found her at lunch at told her so). A few TFA corps members, including my St. John’s roommate, will be teaching at District 79 this Fall.

We haven’t began any teaching…yet, but we did get to spend a day at an elementary school in the Bronx, and it was awesome. One teacher labeled her children into 5 groups, based on seating, and titled by the five boroughs of NYC. I learned that the “Staten Island” table was the table for the students who were misbehaving since it is connected to the teachers desk. Apparently, the kids hate being in Staten Island.

Other highlights included a dinner on the Lower East Side with other corps member (CM’s) and a TFA alum at a sushi restaurant. Prior to this meal, I never had sushi and out right refused to eat it. Solely because I was afraid to admit this, I went ahead and ordered a dragon roll and a spicy salmon roll. Did you know dragon rolls have eel and baby fish eggs? I didn’t. Surprise!! Even bigger surprise, I liked it. :)

Institute begins tomorrow…and Detroit, Rhode Island, and CT will be coming!

6 Responses

  1. Mom

    I could feel your excitement and enthusiasm as I read this account. Wow! The dedication you feel to the
    children already is sure to make you a wonderful teacher!
    Get ready! There will be many more surprises as you travel this rewarding
    path. Very proud of you.xxx

  2. kim

    Staten Island has a lot of energy! It is NEVER a negative! And it’s about time you tried sushi we’ve been trying FOREVER!! No more chicken teriyaki at my birthday dinners!

  3. Kristen Montello

    I remember those fire drills in college. You’ll make sure to get your kiddos out don’t worry lol. I can’t wait to hear about your first week teaching and Yay for speducation! You and Glenn can share stories now. Good luck this week!

  4. Anonymous

    It showed a sign of confidence in your abilities when they assigned you to Special Ed. It takes a gifted teacher to work with that group. You’ll do great!

    • Diane Yarbrough

      Whoops, forgot to post my name.

  5. Francis Rodriguez

    How about a post every once in a while??This blog is like the rest of the internets…pure drivel..

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