Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 15 2009

It’s only the beginning…

…of just about everything.

I’m not sure where to start. First time blog posts are always a bit daunting. But I promise to keep it short. I’m writing to you from the Hassayampa Academic Village on the Arizona State campus, where, as a GNO corps member, I’m just starting summer institute.

The 5 a.m. wake up call was a blur. But my sessions have been really informative, and I can already tell that the TFA support staff at our summer school is awesome. I’m teaching 7th-grade-something starting next Monday. Lesson plans are due Thursday. Here we go.
But, today was also my first rejection of the TFA hiring process … a N.O. East charter school that I interviewed with last week e-mailed me this morning to say:

“Dear Candidate:

XXXX school leaders would like to thank you for your interest in our school and for taking time for an interview.
Although you were not selected for this school year’s faculty, your resume will be kept on file.

Success to you.”

I intend to. It will be a long journey for both me and my students. But, after all, that’s why I’m here.

The favorite part of the end of the day were all the highlighted and starred motivational thoughts in my notebook from the sessions:

How am I doing? What do I need?

Effective teachers are made, not born.

Might is not good enough for our students. The achievement gap is real. The need is great and time is short.

Oh yeah, and I’ll probably be watching this wonderful YouTube video every day for inspiration.

Whenever things get tough, I’ll think of the words of a previously-struggling St. John the Baptist 11th-grader that GNO brought in to speak to us at Induction closing ceremonies. Her words brought tears to my eyes. “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” she said. We need you, we want to learn. Even those days when we give you trouble, we believe in you. Don’t give up. Because I know all 250 of you are going to do amazing things for your students like my TFA teachers did for me.
*a quick note about the blog title: Not that I’m a big fan of the Harry Connick, Jr., Sandra Bullock movie, but I thought it was an interesting idea. I first came across the notion of TFA corps members struggling to tread water on the job after reading this Missourian article last fall.

At this point, I’m buyoed by hope. Hope (and belief) that i can be an effective teacher and that my students desperately want (and need) to achieve, they just need someone to push and believe in them. Hope in the future of new orleans. And hope in the 250 new TFA corps members who will start teaching in GNO in the fall.
and hope floats.

One Response

  1. You’re going to do great. If you ever need any teaching inspiration, you know how to get in touch. :)

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