Musings of a veteran teacher joining TFA

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 27 2012

1st Lesson Plans are due tomorrow evening.

I’m not going to lie to you, TFA lesson plans are something to behold.  They are more detailed than any other lesson plans I have generally seen, and I expected to do pretty well at them.  I’m tooting my horn (sorry), and although I rarely do the lesson planning like I used to, I’ve always done well with them.

It’s been really stressful for people.  Understandably so.  For example, we got the first part of our lesson plan (the vision) set up yesterday, without a whole lot of training for the actual lesson plan until today.  Guess what? We’ve still got meetings on “your teacher voice”, watching very entertaining videos on exemplar teaching (and not as exemplar), discussions, working lunches, blah blah blah.  Those lesson plan we got training on today?  Guess what, it’s due tomorrow at 6:30 am.  I would hypothesize that a very large portion of people will be staying up quite late to do the lesson plans.

I really am annoyed when people spring a “by the way, you need to do this”.  Ah, hello! I tend to be a type A personality when it comes to turning in things, and I actually like to get them done early, not wait for the last possible minute.  Even though it’s a “rough draft”. It may be rough, all right.   My CMA (core member advisor) did that to us today, to my great displeasure.  I told him, “I hope you don’t want things really scripted out because you haven’t given us time to do it.”  Not only that, but it must be collaborative.  I’m with Noah (who’s great, btw) all day from 7:20 – 4:30 and you want us to give up our own time to collaborate on something you gave us right before we left and IT’S DUE TOMORROW??  Seriously, folks.  That’s a bad way to hold class.  It pisses people off (can you tell?)  I wasn’t mad before, but writing this kinda makes me see a pinkish red.

Sigh.  I’m over it.  I’ll do my part and fix what he wants us to fix.

A couple of other things:  Temple University is having SERIOUS issues with internet.  My roomie has not had internet access yet and keeps giving up precious time waiting for the computer people to figure out what is going on.  Everyone has had to go to the computer room.  I don’t know what would’ve happened if I had brought my older computer, but I’m glad this one is newer.  How is one supposed to email your CMA if you don’t have internet access?  Well, legitimately, there is a computer room that anyone can use, and it’s getting used.  It’s nice, however, to have your own laptop.

I’m looking at what’s due, and half of the crap that’s due hasn’t been given to us.  It’s a one day turn around with no time to collaborate with your partner.  It’s kinda bullshit.  They keep espousing, “Get sleep! Try to plan!” Yeah, it makes it difficult, and they know people will do it.

Okay, well, I have to get my second lesson plan done on my end.  I guess I should start my 3rd day lesson plan, as it’s due on Friday. Sigh.

I asked for this.

4 Responses

  1. Bella

    You’re going to be fine. I abandoned the TFA lesson plan model on day 1 – it is totally not sustainable. I relied on an awesome veteran teacher at my campus and she taught me effective, concise lesson planning. Keep on keeping on!!!

  2. Katie Farley

    Oh…institute. I have to say, what I learned from institute is “what is a real due date”. Sometimes, you don’t meet institute due dates. And it doesn’t actually matter. You are an overacheiver, and awesome.

    • oniongirl

      That’s the kicker, isn’t it? Everyone here is an overachiever most of the time. It sets a high standard because everyone will do it, even if it is sometimes a ridiculous turn around time.

  3. nonTFAtxteacher

    You did ask for it, but you can do it! I believe that with all of your experience, you can make it happen. I don’t believe in the TFA lesson plan model as they know that school districts lesson plans vary across the nation. But I am glad that you want to help TFA with their mission. Good luck to you!

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10 years teaching, trying something new and exciting!

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