learning to be ms frizzle

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 01 2011

Coach, Read, Camp, Read, Read, Read

My past week has consisted of a mix of coaching, camping, and reading. I coached my first practice last week, who knew it was so hard to explain basic concepts, but apparently I am good at it (says the head coach and athletic director). Tomorrow is our second practice and the first summer league game. I don’t know how to fit all we need to cover, and practice it, before the first game. My only issue so far is how to deal with girls who have attitude problems and teaching players at completely different levels. I can deal with lack of skill, that is as long as they are willing to work at it, but its much harder to deal with the players who don’t try and have problems following instructions because they don’t want to, not because they can’t. I definitely need to deal with this type of issue because I surely will confront the same issues in my classroom. The only problem is I can make them run in the gym, not so much in my class. It has always amazed me how effective the threat of running can be.

I have also been reading. Alot! Beware: the “30 hour” approximation for pre-institute work is FALSE! Its not only off by a little, but by at least 60 hours. I’ve complete 3 lessons and my teaching observations alone that time adds up to over 30 hours, 15 hours for the 2nd lesson alone without even including the online reading (I haven’t had internet access until today)! Maybe I’m just a slow reader, but I have to believe that it is IMPOSSIBLE to complete all the assignments in under 50 hours (thats giving each person a 20 hour bonus) unless a CM is a super fast reader and skips the tfanet readings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the amount of work – I think its necessary given that people attend school for 4 years to get the same information that we recieve in 5 weeks – but I wish the “approximate time” was more accurate.

I have 2 thoughts going through the readings.

1. That secondary CMs are vastly underrepresented in the examples found in the readings. I don’t know about others, but I’m reading this as a guide full of examples about how I can make my classroom better. I’m not sure if there are less examples of secondary CMs because the issues are different or because there are more elementary and middle school assignments but it is frustrating. It is especially frustrating when it comes to investing students and their families. I am really worried about the family part because in high school there are no parent teacher conferences and I will have approximately 150 students total to reach out to. Again, if anyone has any good ideas please let me know. Out of everything so far, this is my biggest concern, and the pre-institute work isn’t covering it well for secondary placements in any subject.

2. The diversity readings are interesting. I feel like TFA really attempts to cover the diversity issues on many different levels with many good examples. I really like the steps of racial identity. I feel like I have been a minority for most of my ¬†school life, literally the only white girl in a few classes, but I never thought about how I was perceived outside of school visiting affluent neighborhoods. Even with basketball shorts on and braided hair I don’t think anyone has ever suspected me of steeling anything. Its just interesting to evaluate and reflect on my experiences growing up. I am remembering stuff that I think I would have completely forgot in a few years if I wasn’t forced to reflect on it.

Lastly, not related to TFA at all – I heart Colorado. We went camping at eleven-mile canyon over Memorial Day weekend and its was awesome. Unlike in Texas I didn’t have to drive for 5 hours to get to a state/national park, didn’t have to sleep in a bathing suit because it was so hot, and didn’t have to shake out my shoes for scorpions (my arch-nemesis). I think I will like it here!

Well, I now have officially one week left before the TFA part adventure begins. I am both excited and nervous, but for now I need to get back to reading.

- Ms. R

One Response

  1. palllasau07

    I completely understand where you are coming from with the readings-they take a much longer time to finish, and I even consider myself a fast reader.

    Also, I 100 % agree about there being a TOTAL lack of secondary information. Honestly, I don’t feel that I have had even half of my questions answered in regards to what it will be like teaching at my high school, or how to deal with situations that arise.

    However, hang in there, I’m sure our questions will be answered soon! Good post.

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