You Only Live Once

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 26 2011

“Oh, so you really weren’t joking about Institute?!”

I have thought about updating this blog every few days but I literally have had no time.  Institute has officially kicked my butt.  Week 4 starts tomorrow and it is crazy to think that three weeks have already gone by yet it also feels like I’ve been living in my Georgia Tech bubble for 3 months.  I have no concept of what is going in the nation/world.  For example, I didn’t realize that Dallas beat Miami until 3 days after it happened.  Institute has a way of making you feel that teaching is the ONLY things that exist, which is truly how I feel.

The first week was by far the hardest thing I can remember doing.  As I told my mom, “I would rather have went back to running cross-country in the 95 degree heat and humidity that is Carbondale.  At least then I knew there would be an end to the workout.  That is not the case with teaching and training.  There is always something more that I can be doing either to prepare for the next day’s lesson or to prepare for a lesson later on in the week.  Week 1 felt as if I had one million things to do and only 6 hours to do them.  My schedule consist of waking up at 5:15 so I can shower, get ready, eat breakfast, pack a lunch and be on a bus by 6:40.  From there I head to Cook Elementary where I alternate teaching and sitting in sessions from 7-4:30 p.m, get back to Georgia Tech around 5 and have until whatever time I deem my necessary bedtime to get as much work completed as possible.  Currently, if it gets to midnight I call it a night.  Five hours of sleep is not enough for me to fully function so coffee and coke have become my new best friends.  If I can ever get to bed by 10:30 or 11 that is amazing and seems like so much sleep although in reality it is only 6.5 hours which is far off from my usually 8.5-9 I’m used to getting all the time.

On Wednesday of week 1 one of the people in my collab (the group of people that I teach with in the classroom) quit and the other was sick.  So it left two of us to complete the work of four people.  Of course we managed to do it but it just added to my stress and I ended up crying in front of my CMA (advisor) and other CMAs that work at my school.  Talk about embarrassing.  I became THAT girl that cries.  Luckily that was the first of only 2 times I’ve cried in the past 21 days so I’ll take that.

Week 2 started actual teaching.  I am teaching second grade math and have 5 students who are just so amazing.  Despite being in summer school for low performance they are incredibly smart! I love each and every one of them and am already sad that after 2 more weeks I will never see them again.  I wish they were a little bit older so that it would be easier to keep in contact with them but unfortunately they don’t have e-mail addresses or cell phones.  It worries me to think about where they will be in 4-5 years from now.

Although I still have lots of improvements to make as a teacher, I really am enjoying standing in front of a room each day and teaching.  I know the intensity of the training will be worth it in the end because it will make me more prepared but when I’m in the moment with it I can hardly take any time for myself.  However, I know I must continue to power through and although the weeks seem to go by slow, I know when Friday gets here it will seem as if everything has flown by.  I was taking the first few weeks 1 hour at a time but I think I’m at the point where I can start taking it 1 day at a time.

One final thing…I want to give a quick shoutout to my Collab members and roommates.  They have totally kept me sane and believing in myself even when I did not want to.  When I’m around them I can look at life as glass half-full.  They remind me no matter what has happened thus far, tomorrow is a new day and we get to start from scratch.

Until next time…

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