It’s my third day in Baltimore for Induction, and it’s already been a heck of an experience.
I arrived on Sunday and began to acclimate myself right away, meeting people and picking through the paperwork they gave me at check-in. It’s been really interesting meeting the other 2008 corps members. We’ve got somewhere between 100 and 110 incoming teachers from all over the country. Everyone is from really different backgrounds, but I get the feeling we’re also a lot alike. I guess it’s to be expected, considering how rigorous TFA is in finding corps members that fit their mold.
The first full day was information overload. I’m already trying to process all the teaching-related reading I’ve done on my own, advice from experienced teachers and TFA corps members, and the countless pages of info in the Pre-Institute manuals. Add to that Monday’s 12 full hours of speeches of all sorts. I tried to jot down the most salient pieces of advice and remarks, but I’ll probably never dig these notes up again, so I just hope I absorbed the most important details. The biggest things I plan to internalize are to establish relationships with the students, the other teachers, the administrators, the corps members, and the community, to not succumb to negativity and defeatism, to never waver in setting high expectations for the kids, to be respectful and humble, and to be prepared to work relentlessly. I’ve got a lot of learning to do these next couple of months.
And this much has been impressed upon me more than anything: the experience of teaching in inner city Baltimore is going to be extremely tough. I’d say all of us are somewhat scared to death, and we’d be fools not to be. But we’re also fired up, and even after a just a couple of days, we’re already starting to band together and dig in.