TFA Tales

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 28 2013

On the Inevitable Breakdown…in class.

Before heading to Institute my head was filled with horror stories about overwhelming workloads, little sleep and nightly tears. I wasn’t too worried, having survived college with the “procrastinate and then stay up all night studying” method for nearly all my exams and papers. I’m not much of a crier, and typically am able to get out any stress with a quick trip to the gym.

I was glad when, three nights ago, I sat with one of the RGV MTLD’s and only had good things to say about how the first week of school had gone. Sure, I had a few talkers in my class and my co-teacher and I needed to work on some of our behavior management skills. But things were going well, and our students were slowly beginning to grasp the concepts we were covering.

And then Thursday happened. From the time the morning bell rang I knew it would be a rough day. Here we were, my co and I, excited for our lesson on symbolism and all of the fun activities we had prepared to get our students moving around and interacting. And from the outset they were rowdy. We changed up the seating arrangement, which created a few disgruntled 14-year-olds, and the talking level got out of control. By the time my CMA jumped in to get the students under control I was at a loss for what to do. All my planning had gone out the window, and my students did not respect me or my co. Our behavior management tricks were not doing one ounce of good, and the tears started to fall.

I’m not an emotional person, typically. Sure, I cry ever time I watch Forrest Gump, but in general I can keep in control. But every now and then my body just decides it is time to cry, and it doesn’t matter where I am. Friday in my second period class was that time. It took a couple minutes, but I got back in control. And I learned just how sweet a few of my students really are, as they turned around during group-work to ask if I was OK and if they could do anything. Honestly, I think it freaked out a couple of my students, who decided they had better get to work lest I start crying some more. The rest of the day was emotional for me, and honestly it carried into today. Sometimes you just need a good cry, though preferably it happens after class instead of during.

I’m not the first person to cry at Institute, and I am far from the last person who will. In fact, I predict I will need a weekly cry-session to get me through these next few weeks. But, for now, I am just glad that it is Friday night, and I don’t have very much work to do this weekend.

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Living, Loving, Learning

Rio Grande Valley
Middle School

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