Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 29 2011

Is this real life?

Day two, and somehow more of the same. The people at my school are still awesome and smart and hardworking. We played team-building games that were actually fun and we all exchanged phone numbers. The day ended and I had to catch a ride, but I felt awkward leaving because everyone was still sitting there planning for classes. (At my old school, everyone would have “worked” alone in our classrooms and then sprinted for the door at 3:28.)

They put us through sessions on things I’ve learned a million times, but I wasn’t bored because they went quickly. For the first time in all the trainings I’ve been to, they actually have faith that we already know how to teach and don’t need to spend hours on the basics. They gave us tons of diagnostic data that they have already collected on our kids and then gave us time to work together to analyze it. They even gave us templates to work with that were thorough and made sense.

They prescribe to the “broken windows” social theory, which means that every little detail matters in order to ensure that the big picture goes well. And they put emphasis on “being on the same page” over pretty much everything else. That means that, for all that they respect us and treat us like adults more than anyone else has yet, they also aren’t sorry to give explicity detailed directions about exactly how certain points of our class should go. Your kids will enter the room like this. The first three minutes of your class will look like this. Your Do Now will be this many minutes, silent, and fit into one of these three categories. Your instruction will go like this. The last three minutes of your class will look like this. It’s very possible that one day I’ll mind such tight control, but right now I love it. They’ve already done enough research (*AHEM* they use Teach Like A Champion for everything) and have enough evidence of success that I have no issue listening to them instead of inventing something on my own. They just exude this sense of knowing what they’re doing. It’s really, really nice.

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