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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 12 2012

The Good of Induction

As promised, this is my post about what I thought TFA did right with Induction. Or, at least, the aspects of Induction that I personally enjoyed the most and found the most useful. At this point in my life, I want things to be useful rather than merely interesting (ideally, they’d be both). Right now, I don’t feel like there’s enough time for that. I’ve got stuff to learn.


Anyway, apologies in advance that I have been reduced to bullet points. It’s the night of the first day of Institute in Tulsa (Wendy Kopp came to Opening Ceremony for those who haven’t heard. I might write about that but honestly there’s nothing much to say. She seemed nice. Explained TFA. She made a point of mentioning Charter Schools as evidence that children could learn which I thought was interesting (note: I am not trying at all to get involved with that debate. I do not know anywhere near enough). Nothing super exciting. Or useful.) Basically, I’m really tired and I’m just going to bang this out and then go to sleep.


My Favorite Parts of Induction:

-        Parents Panel: Three parents of students came in to talk to us and it was absolutely great to hear from them. My favorite advice: “Don’t judge your students.” “Work to explain things in different ways.” “Don’t be too nice: they will run over you.” “No gossiping about what parents tell you in confidence. Ever.” “Reach out to parents.”

  • Interesting point: One parents said that a teacher’s job was to support a student’s dreams. Even if that dream does not include going to college. I wonder what TFA would say about that… that’s another blog post. Must try not to get sidetracked.
  • Also, these parents said that they would know if you were a good teacher. If you are a good teacher, their kids come home and talk to them about you. Looking back, I only talked to my parents about teachers if they were exceptionally good or exceptionally bad so that makes sense. Now I just have to hope they are talking about me for the right reasons…

-        Student Panel: 6-7 Students came in and also had a panel where we could ask questions. My favorite subtext of this conversation was: Do not be too nice. Other advice: “enforce education beyond high school” “Be consistent. Stick to the routine. It shows you care and are prepared.” “Show them the big picture, the world outside of Miami.” “Have relationships with your students.”

  • Interesting comment: One girl said (I think this is almost word for word according to my notes) “You can’t get through to everyone but as long as you tried, you did your job.” Would TFA agree? I think that sounds like a pretty healthy mindset as long as you give an honest effort to everyone.

-        Community Visit: The first time we went into the community we went into different organizations that were working to help the Miami community. I went to the Urban League and talked with the president there. He was a battleaxe (apparently only my family uses this word in this context. It’s a term of respect in my house. It basically means he was a tough, awesome, inspiring man.) I didn’t agree with everything he said but it was absolutely wonderful to hear from him.

-        Community Service: I ended up making clay pendants for an organization called Shake-a-Leg. It wasn’t particularly pertinent to teaching but it was really fun and it was nice to give back. So I’m putting it down in the win column.


Alright. That’s it. I might be forgetting some things because that list seems rather short but… well, I’ll just say that I’m only three days out and these are the things I remember. And it’s bedtime.


Update: Oh. my goodness. I realize that I completely forgot the school visit! Blame Institute brain or something. But we also visited the school that we are “soft” placed in for a morning and it was completely awesome. Sorry about forgetting that. I feel kinda like an idiot.

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