Teach Houston

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 26 2013

some thoughts as of late

1. I think I want to be a CMA at Houston Institute. Not now. Eventually. Can I do this even if I still struggle with the philosophy behind some parts of Institute? Can I do this at all? Things to consider.

2. If I want to survive this upcoming semester/be a real person I need to get my head on straighter. No more constant self-doubt, anxiety, tension, stress, pessimism, etc. It’s not sustainable. This might mean I need to have some difficult conversations with people in my life. but such is being an adult.

3. Deep down, I know that some of the behavior management issues I faced in one particular class near the end of this semester are on me; my lessons were not as well-planned, deep, or engaging as they should have been.

4. I am not just being a crazy perfectionist when I say that. I’ve planned good/deep/engaging lessons before so I know that I can do it. I was just burned out.

5. I’m hiking in Yosemite for spring break (which also happens to fall on my 22nd birthday). Can’t wait to be feelin’ 22 among the mountains.


EDIT, 12 hours later

6. I need to behavior-manage each day the same way I’d behavior-manage if I was being evaluated. A solid 94% of my evaluation-related stress deals with the way my kids react to my teaching, and if I practice the way I want to be evaluated, the stars won’t have to align in some miraculous way for me to get a good score. Things will just go as they always do.

One Response

  1. 1. DO IT. Yes you can do it even if you don’t agree 100% with the philosophy, and your CMs will appreciate you more the more open and honest you are. One of my best friends is on TFA staff and sent me this long beautiful email the other day about how she thinks for TFA to continue to be successful we need people to doubt and pick apart from the inside. The best way to change systems is from within, and we each have the power to do that IN TFA, making TFA authentic and strong and constantly changing. Being a CMA was a very positive experience for me, and I felt similar to you. The same way you don’t have to love your school to love your kids, you don’t have to love TFA to love your CMs.

    2. Having those conversations will give you pride and will make you better (and the relationships better) in the long run. It is hard, but that is part of growing up. The anxiety and pessimism leaves when you let it go, and when you surround yourself with people that let it go. I believe entirely that the people you are around will determine who you are and how you act. Attitudes are so contagious, and I bet there are tons of positive people you can find that will pull you up even when you try to tear yourself down. (Then YOU’LL be that person… but don’t try to be that person before others have helped you!!)

    3. They are. Everything is your fault. Your classroom is entirely under your control. That is the attitude you HAVE to have to have success. Realize that just as you blame yourself for negatives, you MUST blame yourself for all the greatness in your classroom and in your life. YOU are guiding 90 or 95 or 98% of your kids to success, joy, and academic gains. If you have a behavior problem the only real fault you have is how you personally prevent and respond to the behavior. Be firm in what you know and believe in your classroom, in your expectations, and in your belief that both you and the behavior students can be successful. Take blame, always, but not blame that leads to ripping yourself down. Failure will always lead to growth if you let it. Failure brings us up.

    Sorry to be so preachy, I am just so excited for you!!!

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