One thing I can say for sure as a new teacher is that I LOVE Saturdays. It was great going to bed knowing I didn't have to wake up at 5 a.m. Though I didn't wake up as early as I do on a normal day, that doesn't mean work doesn't gets done on Saturdays. I woke up around 9ish and worked on lesson plans from when I got up until dinner time. There are clear signs of improvement in my lesson planning as I get further into it; although, it still takes me awhile for a few reasons in particular which I will explain later on in this post.
This week was a challenge. Although, like most of you who know me, I had no problem getting ahead in my lesson plans =). This week I taught 3 days (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and can definitely say that it was a blast. I love getting to know my students and I love seeing them interact with what I'm teaching them. I can say with confidence that teaching is by far the best part about Teach For America summer institute.
Summer institute, this week, has been greeted with much controversy and animosity by me and other corps members. Summer institute, though the ultimate goals are student achievement and making effective teachers, there are many other sub-goals that Teach For America makes sure they meet. One of those sub-goals is creating a culture of stress and exhaustion. For example, due dates for lesson plans are at 4 a.m. What kind of culture is that creating? The kind where people stay up until 2:30 a.m. to work on lesson plans when they need to wake up at 5 a.m. My CMA (Corps Member Advisor) was complaining about how everyone was tired and was telling us that nobody should be tired. I told my CMA that if she changed the due dates to midnight that people would get to bed earlier. For some reason she seemed to disagree.
Lesson planning has been so hard for me and everybody here at Institute because nobody has a text book to reference. Now, I realize that there are a lot of schools that don't use text books; however, when you've been teaching for one week it's hard to lesson plan when you have no text book and the only thing you have to reference before you plan a 90 minute lesson is two sentences (the state standard and objective). For that reason, it seems as though I am dependant upon google to become an effective teacher. Creating assessments and materials for guided practice has looked a lot like me writing my own assessments and desperately searching the internet. This has been frustrating for me and I have expressed my frustration to those in authority around me. They basically told me tough luck. I told them I couldn't wait to get back into Indiana.