The new class of Teach for America corps members in Houston are about to finish their summer institute this Friday. Soon after they'll be dispersing to Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami-Dade, San Antonio and of course the Rio Grande Valley. In honor of this time, I have a little of my own Institute experience to share.
On or around this day seven years ago, when I was just a clean-shaven, impossibly young-looking corps member, our adviser asked us to write a letter to ourselves that she would send to us at the end of our first year. It arrived as promised, and gives a unique window into what I was going through at that time.
Dear Tom,Read more about my Institute experience, including what I wrote in my proposed speech for the closing ceremonies.
It is the third-to-last day of Institute and it's time to set some goals for yourself/myself. These are the thing I have faith you will have improved upon by the time you receive this letter:
Do these things and very good teacher you will be, mmmm, yes! -> Yoda
- Be an assertive, effective classroom [manager] (aka "Handle Your Business" and "Be the teacher!")
- Let your enthusiasm and energy flow freely towards your students
- Continue to reflect constantly on effectiveness of lessons and focus on goals
- Have procedures and systems in place
- Reach out to all learners
- Make sure I'm including all students in the classroom
- student-centered lessons!
- develop better "with it"-ness
- Start some clubs (film, history, service, etc)
- Have and use effective consequences
- Use the word "effective" more often
- Learn to salsa*
- Don't lose my perspective or sense of humor about this job or life in general.
Peace in the Middle East,
*I have not, as of yet, learned to salsa.