NicInLA

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 01 2011

What a Year…It Ain’t Over!

It has been over 6 months since I last posted, and in those 6 months, my entire life has changed.

First, I was laid off 2 days after Christmas due to budget cuts.  I spent 4 weeks on unemployment feeling like I had hit rock bottom.  How was it that I left a well paying job to end up on unemployment a year to the day that I quit?  But, I had the opportunity to interview for several ECE teacher jobs and had to choose between two.  One – a well regarded Head Start, the other a year round up and coming preschool that happens to be the center of a Promise Neighborhood initiative…oh and they wanted me to be Site Supervisor (in the world of ECE that essentially means Principal).  After a lot of though, I am now a Site Supervisor in my first year of teaching.  There are times when I am ridiculously jealous of my counterparts who will get a summer vacation, however, I am able to make a lot of curriculum, staff, and infrastructure decisions I am sure all of my TFA colleagues wish they could make now.

But as my mother would say: “The grass always looks greener on the other side, but at the end of the day, grass is grass; you still have to mow it.”  I am exhausted by my new role, instead of teaching for 4 hours a day and having 4 hours for paperwork and duties, I teach 8 hours a day.  I am feeling completely overwhelmed with the amount of work it takes to run a school and the effort it takes to keep staff and parents happy.  Not to mention that I went from teaching all African American kids to all Hispanic and most of my students and their families don’t speak English.  My TFA story is so long already, but it just goes to show that sometimes one can make an informed decision about policy and needs in education when you are actually in the trenches.  I have been on the wrong end of the stick on layoffs, senority, union matters and preschool improvement policy, however, I would not change a thing.  Through it all, I always feel like I am exactly where I need to be in each moment of this year.

When I got accepted into TFA I’ll admit, I was thinking it would help me get into B-school later, but now, I can’t imagine doing anything else but teach.  I have learned so much about myself, I’ve grown so much and I can’t wait to move on to see what the future holds.

By the way – comparision of teaching in Inglewood Vs. Boyle Heights

Inglewood – my students played rob the liquor store

Boyle Heights – my students pretend that I am the police and shoot me with pretend guns

Inglewood – my students had pretend back alley abortions in the house area

Boyle Heights – my students get into legit fist fights and need stitches because someone tried to make them play with Red Legos and they only roll Crip…

My God, what do these parents teach these kids at home?

Until next time my friends…

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    a Teach For America teacher’s blog

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