Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It was Teach for America Day

So yesterday was a nice break from our day-to-day routine of teaching, going to class and working until the wee hours of the night. However, the change of pace came as a total surprise to all of us.

The day started like most others. I was up until 2 a.m. finishing lesson plans and all that jazz, and woke up at my normal 5:30 a.m. to get breakfast and prepared for the day before my bus leaves at 6:30. When we got to campus at I.S. 143, there was a four-hour chunk of time schedule that afternoon for a meeting with a representative from the Department of Education about "Managing the Politics of the DOE."

Well, our Curriculum Specialist said that it would be the most boring part of Institute. Top that off with the three hours of sleep from the previous night and you've got a recipe for sure disaster.

So I made it through my lesson plan for the day and managed to teach my students something (I hope) -- I still worry that I'm not being as effective as I could be, but that's another blog post in its own right. Anyway, after teaching, we had a "working lunch" schedule so that the DOE rep could get right down to business. The 36 TFA teachers at I.S. 143 piled into one classroom and literally inhaled our stale lunches. At that point, our advisers warned us to put all of our food in the trash, drinks away, and have out a piece of paper, a writing utensil and pay CLOSE attention to everything the DOE rep was supposed to say.

I'll admit, I felt tense from the get go.

At that point, the rest of the TFA staff working with us at the school stormed in and told us that it was actually TFA Day and that we had the afternoon off -- sort of. Instead of sitting through a four-hour session, we were going to have a field day back at St. John's University (and still finish our work that was due the next day, oh the irony).

So we loaded up the bus that was waiting for us outside and went back to St. John's. I'll confess I was relieved to have a day off, and being outside was a nice change of pace from sitting in a dank classroom all afternoon. I did, however, take a nap before I joined in the festivities. Here are some pictures of my school's teams dominating at three-on-three basketball, a Saltine eating contest, tug of war, and just hanging out (we're best at the last one).

Until next class....

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