Saturday, June 18, 2005

Off to New York

It's finally here. Tomorrow I leave for New York. I'm not sure if I am mentally prepared for the six weeks of madness that are about to begin. Monday begins "Induction" which lasts for one week in NYC. Then all 600 of us new corps members from NY get bussed to Philadelphia where we join other corps members from different regions for 5 weeks of training known as the "Summer Institue." For those who don't know, the summer institute is supposed to be--in a word--INTENSE. A day in the life of the institute consists of teaching summer school in the morning followed by workshops and seminars in the afternoon, then planning for the following day's teaching in the evening (and well into the night). From most accounts we should be expecting to get about 4-5 hours of sleep a night. Back in March I found Andrew's blog, where I got my first real description of just how intense the summer was going to be. I can't believe that now it's only a week away. What I didn't know is just how jam packed our Induction schedule was going to be. Yesterday I got a preliminary schedule in the mail and they have us busy from breakfast all the way through to dinner plans. Somehow in that week we are supposed to find housing for August first when we get back from Philadelphia. I'm not sure how that is going to get accomplished as it seems we are barely going to have time for bathroom breaks.

I did finish just about all the reading in preparation for the Institute (seven texts in all) which was no small feat considering I had just a month to do it in and I was working over 40 hours a week. I didn't do it exactly how they set it up for us (in the neat little exercises followed by classroom observations) but I did get it done. I only did 4 of 9 observations, but seeing as I got back from Italy just two weeks before the end of the school year, I think that I did pretty well. I was shocked when I was talking to one current corps member, whose classroom I observed, and she said "It's so good that you are doing these observations. When I got to Institute I met a lot of people who hadn't done any." I didn't think that was an option, but I'm glad that I got most of it completed.

Though I didn't do all nine observations, I think that I sort of had an alternative series of observations. I found that a lot of what I was reading in the seven TFA texts sounded quite familiar to me. Reading teacher blogs over the last few months has taught me a lot, I think.

So . . . tonight I take the red eye to NY! Wish me luck on the 6 weeks of madness that I am about to endure!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

To the Bronx . . . Or not.

Today I got a short and sweet email telling me that my region has been changed and I'm now going to be teaching in Region 5 (Brooklyn/Queens). I guess it's not nearly as dramatic as it could have been (changing subject area or state), though I'd started getting attached to the idea of teaching in the Bronx. I'd only had my placement for a little while though and now I have plenty of time to get used to the idea of teaching in Region 5. This does majorly affect the housing search. For that I'm really greatful that the news came early on.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Time's running out . . .

Less than two weeks now until I'm off to NY. I feel like there is so much that I need to do to get ready. I've only been back in the States now three weeks and I'm already having to think about packing up again! I'm working over 40hrs a week to try to save every bit that I can before I go. I won't get my first paycheck until September and seeing as I just got back from a year abroad, I don't exactly have any funds saved up. In addition to working, I'm trying to get through the pile of reading that needs to be done before summer institute. I'm focusing on the literacy texts because I know that they will be useful for the Multi-subject CST that is coming up at the end of June. There's really a lot of information there that I am completely unfamiliar with. I hope that I can get it all internalized before the test. Finally, my family. I feel like I haven't had enough time to spend with them. This month is going by so quickly. At least NY isn't as far away as Italy.

That said, I am really excited about getting to NY. I'm especially looking forward to meeting a lot of new people. Through the TFA website, I've made contact with a lot of interesting people. I'm definitey excited for this new adventure in my life.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

South Bronx

I just found out today that I'm going to be teaching in the South Bronx (region 1). It's exciting to know even just a little more information on where I'll be teaching. I didn't give any preference for where I wanted to teach in NY--at this point, it's all the same to me. It helps to know where I'm going to be teaching though because now I can start thinking about where I want to live. I'm glad that I got to spend a bit of time in the city this past spring or I would be completely lost. When I was there I had plenty of time to wander so I kind of got my bearings in the city. So, can anyone give any recommendations as to where they would live in the city knowing that they would be teaching in the Bronx? I don't want to have a crazy commute. I'd like to live in a neighborhood that is really colorful with interesting bars, restaurants, shops, etc. A place where I can witness and take part in the "city ballet."