Hott Mess Hawaii

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 12 2008

Trial by Fire

This has been a new kind of tired. Institute is brutal, but now I know why. Being able to stay on your feet and be engaging for 8 hrs with 6th graders requires an intense amount of stamina. And I was a varsity college athlete…this is a new kind of tired, its both physical and mental.

My life is going in a thousand directions at once, but somehow I’m keeping it all together. It’s funny, people from home I talk to on the phone all comment on how “happy I sound” and that while I have so much going on, and clearly a LOT to learn, I sound relaxed. Thank you island culture. And its true, I mean I put in long hours, take work home with me, and go in on Sundays to get ready for the week, but Saturdays are MINE. A bunch of ’08s went hiking along the coast in the morning, beached all afternoon, and then socialized that evening. We’re teachers, and we’re hardcore, but we’re trying our best to be people too. Let’s hope we can keep it up. I am taking to heart the part about only being effective when you take care of yourself. I got away with burning the candle on both ends in college, but seriously, at the end of the day, I was only responsible for myself….only seeking approval from my advisor. Seriously different than 90 kids who hold you accountable each and every day.

My kids are amazing. Poor things are troopers, what with all of the NWEA diagnostic testing. They’ve been good. I mean REALLY good. Like this is an amazing honeymoon period good. The librarian complemented my biggest bunch on being the most courteous group of sixth graders she had had come through orientation. Crazy how excited that made me – success in classroom management was not something I would have ever thought of or valued about 4 months ago.

I am excited to start getting into content. I really want these kids to learn. They have so much potential, especially with most of them being military…they come from all over the world and are pretty resilient little guys. They have to be. And they are so small compared to my Houston kids. And their writing and experiences are so different.

But in a lot of ways they are the same. There is a huge range of personalities, and they are crazy about stickers. And approval. I just hope I can really teach, and they can really learn.

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