Most of the corps members or alums I have talked to have emphasized the work life balance crucial to maintaining one’s wellness in this incredibly stressful profession we have undertaken. I fully believe that is important. The problem is I want to have more of a life than work. Whoops. This weekend was the first time our entire institute was in Chi-town together to celebrate the end of a long, intense, stressful week. And we for sure made the most of it.
While my cohort headed to the South Loop for Happy Hour on Friday. I elected to head closer to home with some other awesome corps members to Lincoln Park. The 6-11 after work party was indeed a party and we definitely got our money’s worth. We reflected that in some ways, Institute is like summer camp. We are living together, on top of each other all the time, and there is certainly bound to be gossip. Like the folks who were clearly getting frisky on the dance floor or outside the dorm the other night. My bad – by the way – for walking in on you making out in a dark lounge, but seriously, get a room. I realize that everyone just needs to blow off a little steam. I chose to leave campus and be with real (non-TFA) people and they certainly helped with that.
Time to head back again to the world of Classroom Policies and Procedures. Our scholars will be arriving in Promotion Preparatory Academy at 8:30 sharp and we are going to get them on track to reach 4th grade. I need to revise some lesson plans, bust out ones for next week, make my sticker chart tracking classroom growth and decide what on earth to wear tomorrow when I try to teach place value to 3rd graders. I made the executive decision today that sleep would serve me better than spending a few hours with 500,000 of my closest friends and allies at the gay pride parade in Boystown. I finished up some delicious pasta and headed back south to IIT.
Working in a collaborative is a huge help in terms of getting everything ready that needs to be done in preparation for a week of teaching. I’m super lucky to have a fantastic collab that focuses on what we need to do for the kids versus what we want to do to control the classroom. I can’t imagine what tomorrow will be like. I worked with a few students the other day when we administered the DRA but I feel like it is infinitely easier to pull a student and run them through an individual program than to stand in front of a whole group of ten year olds and be responsible for them.
The other day some people were having legit freak outs when we came home from school on Friday. Given the amount of information given to us, then retracted, then changed, then switched again, then the feedback we received was devastating… it was a stressful way to end the week. But here’s what I have to say to everyone who begins teaching tomorrow:
We are capable. We work hard and we are smart. We were chosen for this prestigious organization because we are leaders. We have shown through our academic and professional careers that we are motivated, dedicated, solution seekers. We are what children need us to be. We are flexible and compassionate. We are going to close the education gap. Not in one day – but our combined efforts this summer are going to have enormous impacts on the Chicago students we are serving. I have faith in each and everyone of you. We are going to inspire these children to value education. We are going to bring our creativity and enthusiasm into the classroom and change lives. Stay positive and remember that you are loved. We can do this. And we will do this.