Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 03 2010

My stomach jumps at the thought of having my own students.

“She felt her stomach jump again at the thought of having her own students… She just couldn’t believe that a few months after graduation, she would be responsible for real children.” -Aurora, in The Ms. Lora Story

I’ve been cooking this post for a while now. During the TFA final interview, we each needed to write a reflection essay about challenges we thought we might face as TFA corps members. That day is just a blur to me now and I don’t really remember what I wrote. Since being accepted, I’ve been most anxious about how I will manage a classroom. I’ve never really managed anyone before. Sure, I must have the “proven record of academic achievement and leadership” that TFA wants, and I applied to TFA because I knew it would challenge me as a leader/professional. But, I’m quickly realizing that this is going to be one hell of a crash course in “Teaching as Leadership.”

I’m nervous for a number of reasons. 1.) I was homeschooled for 10 years, including high school, and I haven’t spent much time in grade school classrooms- there is some fear of the unknown, I guess. 2.) My coworkers keep telling me that I’ve gotta “toughen up.” 3.) I don’t want to be end up being that teacher who dreads their students.

Some of this semester’s student-teachers gave me some advice:
- It’s easier to loosen the reins than tighten them.
- Be fierce. Actively address problems yourself.
- Know that something will make you laugh every single day.

I am determined to channel students’ energies into learning and inquiry, not distraction or boredom or acting out. I don’t want to “break them.” I know I’ll learn strategies for classroom management. I’m clinging to the idea that EVERY teacher must deal with this. I won’t be alone. I refuse to be overwhelmed.

Tonight my friend, M., told me, “Balancing being an inspiration and a disciplinarian will be hard, but I believe in you. [Forget] those people telling you to toughen up… you’re plenty tough and you’ll respond to the situation. Just take it as it comes.” … thanks. =)

One Response

  1. Liz

    P.S. I love the “Classroom Management” blog on TFAnet, written by Molly (RGV ’99).

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teaching for the kids.

South Louisiana
Middle School

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