Yes, I’m alive.

As you can see from the title, I haven’t completely fallen off the face of the Earth.  I’m teetering on the edge occasionally, but I’ve managed to stay grounded her at the Phoenix Institute thanks to a really good group of friends.  Brianna, Natalie, Victoria, Dante, Chelsea, Angela, Katie…and several others, you guys have all helped me find sanity these past couple weeks, and for that I am grateful : )

For those of you who have not experienced Teach For America Institute training, just FYI, IT’S HARD.  My typical schedule last week looked like this:

5:45 AM- Wake up, get ready to go, pack up all the materials I will need for class.

6:30 AM- Get in the “Pack Your Lunch Line” and then go to Breakfast.

7:00 AM- Bus ride to the school I’m teaching at.

7:30 AM- Get classroom ready, sign-in, turn in final copies of lesson plans, meet with my Faculty Advisor, report to morning duty, etc.  These tasks vary depending on the day of the week.

8:30 AM- Class begins. Spend first hour teaching procedures or testing students for diagnostic data.

9:30 AM- Report to info session about a teaching topic.

11:00 AM- Free time to enter in student data and prepare for lessons (so not really free time…).

11:30 AM- Teaching block begins, including an hour of support teaching, taking the kids to lunch, and then an hour of lead teaching (this week’s subject: Math!).

2:00 PM- Report to 2, hour and a half info sessions on more teaching topics.

5:10 PM- All school meeting including short reflections and logistic info.

5:30 PM- Bus ride back to Arizona State University.

6:00 PM- Dinner at the dining hall.

6:30 PM- Shower and pack up bag to work on lessons in the computer lab.

7:15 PM- Arrive at computer lab to write and revise lesson plans, make and print worksheets, try to stay awake, etc.

11:30 PM- Leave computer lab to go back to dorm.

12:00 PM- Sleep.

*REPEAT*

Having this typical schedule has been rough.  Especially trying to get through a day this packed on only about 5-6 hours of sleep.  But as I said, having some good friends helps.  We vent, we go on mini-food outings (frozen yogurt- yes please!), and see who can look more zombie-ish during late night lesson plans.

You know what else helps?  The kids I’m actually teaching.  I LOVE being in the classroom.  I was a bit afraid my students would dislike me because I’m more of a hard ass than my fellow teachers, but just as my advisor said would happen, my kids love me for my own style, too.  I think I’m pretty good at designing lessons to keep students engaged, and I’m also good at keeping the class in line (though our class consequence system needs some work).  I already know I’m going to miss these kids a lot when we leave Phoenix.  I’ve had them for math all week, and next week we switch to reading.  Should be a refreshing change, but we’ll see.

I never thought I’d say this, but my focus this week is improving my time management.  I need to get more work done on the weekends to free up my week.  As much as I need a day off, I need sleep more.  But before I dive into lessons, a big group of us are going out to see Bad Teacher.  I’m thinking it will be very therapeutic : )

For all my friends and family I haven’t talked to, I miss you like crazy.  I’m three hours behind Orlando, and that combined with my busy schedule makes it very hard to keep in touch.  If you can, please send me anything- post it note messages, letters, “Hang in There” Kitty posters…I really could use all the support I can get:

Kelly Schrumpf/Teach For America
Mailbox #2228
711 E. Lemon Street
Tempe, AZ 85281

I promise to send something back.  Maybe I can start writing letters on the bus ride home?

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