Friday, July 08, 2005

Institute: Made it through my first week of teaching!

Wow, what a week. So as it turns out the second week is when the fun starts. Being with the kids for half the day really made the week go by faster. I was surprised by a lot of things this week. First, my 6th grade class only has six kids (we started out with four!). Managing six kids is such a breeze compared to some of the other classes I've observed (namely the 7th grade class full of rowdy boys who definitely DON'T want to be in summer school). It's funny how after the first day you start calling your students "my kids." After four days in the classroom I'm already pretty attached to them. And, I know that I shouldn't be surprised about this because we all know why we're--our kids are seriously below grade level--but, knowing that your students are going to be behind and then seeing a 13 year old who's about to enter the 7th grade reading on a 2nd grade level is pretty shocking. We only have 19 days with our kids this summer. It seems almost impossible to make any real progress. It's hard working with these kids all summer knowing that they're going to move on to 7th grade and there's only so much that you can do with them. Another surprising thing is how comfortable I felt in the classroom. I put down as one of my goals for my first week of teaching to be assertive in the classroom. That turned out to not be much of an issue for me. Asserting your authority over kids is a lot easier than adults, it seems. Sort of related to that, I found that I wasn't nervous at all this week. Not really even on the first day. I've just had this calm about me all week. Even on Thursday when we were at out schools until 4:30pm, I came home, had dinner and wrote two lesson plans by 7pm then went to a learning team meeting from 7:30-9 and a professional development workshop from 9-10. I can say that I am soooo happy that it's Friday! I think the last thing that I was really surprised about this week is that Institue isn't as hard as I imagined. Don't get me wrong, it is really intense, a ton of work and responsibility and overwhelming at times. I think that I am actually doing so well because I was mentally prepared for how challenging it was going to be. Because of that I made a pact with myself to get to bed as early as possible every night and not to stress no matter what. I didn't think that that would actually help but I know that it has. It's also helped to have a positive attitude about everything as much as possible. I've purposefully been avoiding people who start getting negative because it brings me down and I don't want to feed on negative energy. (So any future TFAer that may read this, that's my advice for surviving Institue!)

On the ESL front, I'm getting more and more excited about it every day. Our ESL learning team meeting on Thursday really got me psyched about learning everything there is to know about it. I'm also really excited to get to my school and figure out exactly what I need to do this year. I really don't know if my school is going to give me a ton of advice or none at all. The only thing that I know for sure is that I'm going to be the only ESL teacher for K-8 and I'll be doing push in/pull out. Thanks to all of you that commented about ESL. I really appreciate it.

As for the apartment search, basically there has been none. I haven't had time! In three weeks I am going to be homeless in NYC so I need to get on that ASAP! I'm teaching way out in Brooklyn (Brownsville) so I think I'm going to stick to looking for a place in one of the nicer areas of Brooklyn (and possibly, but not likely, the East Village.) Luckily my school is right near where four subway lines intersect so I have a good choice as to where I can look. I just have to decide how long of a commute I'm willing to deal with. (And seeing as I'm not much of a morning person, I think not very long). So I think that will be my project for this weekend.

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