“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. =)