Down to the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 18 2011

The Very First One

After many technical difficulties, my blog is finally up and running. As an extremely brief introduction in case anyone I don’t know ends up reading this, I am: 20 years old (21 on Saturday), a University of Virginia student, a native of Charlottesville, VA, and a double major in history and linguistics.

I took my first PRAXIS exam last weekend (Mathematics Content Knowledge). It could have gone better, but I’m banking on the fact that I only needed to get about half of the questions right. Hopefully some of my guesses were good. Tomorrow is the first day of my last semester in college, which is beginning to make TFA, life, and everything else feel a lot more real. I have been telling myself for the last few months that I need to take it easy this semester. I have been planning on taking only 1 or 2 classes so as to give myself some time to just enjoy life. Somehow, I am currently enrolled in 17 credits. I think I need to find a happy medium.

When I started thinking about TFA today I got both really excited and also kind of sad. College and I have had a very up and down relationship over the past few years, so I never thought I would feel this way about it being my last semester. In one way I am ready to leave and to do something new. TFA is exactly what I want to be doing next year. There is no question about that. But after meeting with my advisor yesterday to talk about applying to graduate programs in a couple of years, I started to think about next year and how I will be the teacher instead of the student. As one of the nerdier people in the world, I love learning. I love being a student. I love going to class. So I need to start shifting my thinking a little bit. Just because I will be the teacher next year does not mean that I won’t be learning as much as my students (hopefully) will or as much as (if not more than) I am learning now.

Having been assigned to teach math, what I am most scared about is not the content or the test scores or anything like that, but it is translating my passion for learning and analyzing and discussing into the language of math. There is no question in my mind that I could get kids excited about studying history or English, but I am scared I won’t be able to figure out how to do this for math. I am sure in a couple of months when I actually standing in front of a room of students who are realistically only a couple years younger than I am and a couple (if not more) inches taller than I am all of whom I need to get to do their homework and participate in class this concern will fade into the background for a while. Right now, however, it is front and center.

3 Responses

  1. elsa

    agree agree agree. I’m an English/History person too, and I’m trying to figure out how to be just as passionate about teaching math. And the Praxis II was like death, but I’m also hoping I guessed right on at least half of the questions :)

  2. Wess

    two things:

    1. HS Math WIN!!!

    2. You will miss learning the way a student learns. A lot. It’s funny–Institute is like college on crack, LOTS of sit-and-learn-like-a-student learning, but then you start teaching and you start to ache for the days when learning was as simple as just … listening. Now, everything I learn is learned “the hard way.”

    Nope, three things.

    3. If you’re passionate about learning, passion is not your biggest problem. Your kids don’t need to love math–it’s great if they do, and it’s even better if they do because of you, but what they NEED to love is working hard for something and succeeding. ALSO– hurrah for a math teacher who loves analyzing and discussing!!! Your students will be lucky to have you.

  3. Kelly

    Another Delta HS math teacher, AWESOME!! Welcome welcome!! I went to JMU and I am also HS math teacher in the Delta. I had the same concerns you expressed and I can’t tell you how much my feelings towards math have transformed! Believe me, you will learn quickly and it’s really surprising how much of a passion you’ll growth for math once you have the responsibility of rising to the occasion to lead your kiddos!! :)

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