Toni's Class

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 25 2011

Getting Ready for the Summer

Although things have been pretty quiet here on the blog, I have been steadily preparing for a summer of training.  Induction starts on Tuesday, and the adventure officially begins!

I have spent the last few months reading fairly voluminous pre-Institute materials, watching video clips of teachers in action, and listening to podcasts of teachers telling their stories.  This year’s corps members (at least in my region) read “Teaching as Leadership: The Highly Effective Teacher’s Guide to Closing the Achievement Gap” by Steven Farr.  We also read a book of excerpts from a number of sources, including “Diversity, Community & Achievement,” “Instructional Planning and Delivery,” “Classroom Management and Culture,” “Elementary Literacy,” “Secondary Literacy,” and “Learning Theory.”  The readings are broken down into exercises and paired with illustrative videos.  At the end of each exercise, there are questions for reflection.  Also, at the recommendation of Adrilicious over at Si Se Puede, I recently purchased “Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College” by Doug Lemov.  It looks like a great resource, and I am really looking forward to devouring it.  My school district also sent copies of “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” by Ruby K. Payne and “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.  I will have no shortage of reading material in the coming months, although I understand I may have a shortage of time to read!

Corps members were also required to conduct some classroom observations prior to the Summer Institute.  I observed three ninth grade classrooms in the Atlanta Public School system.  All of the teachers I observed were current corps members.  What an incredible experience!  Observing those classes was exciting, energizing and motivating!  The current corps members I observed were very helpful to me personally and very effective in their classrooms.  It was a real pleasure to see them in action.

As I mentioned, Induction starts on Tuesday, and it looks like we have a pretty full schedule.  It looks like I will be in various trainings from about 6:30 am until about 8:45 pm each day.  Induction in the Atlanta region runs through June 4, and then Institute begins on June 5.  I hope to be posting here throughout the training process, so stay tuned!

I recently posted a question for current teachers on my Facebook page and have loved the helpful and thoughtful responses I have been getting, so I will also post it here for you, as well: For the current teachers who are reading this post, what is the best advice you received as a first year teacher?

2 Responses

  1. JMJ

    Wow! I forget that Atlanta school year starts so earlier than in New York City. Induction here isn’t for another month. I also have Teach Like a Champion and look forward to devouring it. Let us know how the other books are.

  2. Alex TFA '07

    The TFA texts are awesome, but you may not realize it until you’ve taught for a bit.

    TLaC is perfect for a first-year teacher, way better than, say, Harry Wong.

    TAL, to me, is more of a supplement to Institute than a guide.

    Ruby Payne’s book will give you a toolset for your upcoming culture shock, though sometimes a little heavy on generalizations.

    I would let Good to Great collect a little dust until you have time to breathe.

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