Today was my favorite day so far, by far. Woke up again at 5am, having won the battle over my bed for the second day in a row (disclaimer: I actually have a huge advantage… it isn’t that comfy, I don’t have a mattress pad, and it is THE creakiest bed I have slept on in my ENTIRE life including the two years I lived in a third world country). But I rode the bus with full energy and excited for a new day of learning. Today we learned about making a vision for our lesson.  A lot of it seemed liked common sense at first, but when I thought about it… I probably wouldn’t be as deliberate about implementing the concepts if they weren’t  specifically highlighted (and, looking back on the worst teachers that I have had, none of them had specific objectives or assessments that kept in mind things such as “Are my formative assessments designed such that I know exactly where any gaps of knowledge in the concepts are?”)

We got a chance to apply what we learned… and it was potentially very frustrating because it felt like the instructions and expectations were not very clear before they turned us loose, but… I surprised myself. I actually had learned from past frustrating experiences. I took a step back, asked exactly what they were expecting, and realized that this was only our second day they are not expecting perfection. As a result, I was able to clear my mind and be the only person in my group to actually finish the assignment.  The thing that surprised me most was that it wasn’t because I was the smartest or the most hard working (everyone around me is waaaaay more accomplished than me in those and many other respects), rather, it was simply because I did not allow myself to become paralyzed and frustrated.  For one of the first times in my life, I was able to detach my performance from my personal worth. I didn’t let outcomes (or fear of bad outcomes) keep my present hostage.  I am learning so much here! Love it!

But that isn’t why it was my favorite.  The reason it was my favorite day is because of what happened this evening.  One of Teach for America’s core values is diversity (we had an entire session devoted to it on our second day of induction).  I really didn’t think much of it at the time, though. Diversity, for me, is one of those words that gets used so much in the media and in other context that it has lost its meaning. Today, though, it regained a significant portion of meaning.  You see, Teach for America set up affinity groups in order to connect with people with common backgrounds and experiences.  At first, I only heard that they were going to have an LGBT and an African American group.  But when I looked at the announcement board that said the room each affinity group would be meeting in, I was touched to find… that they had set up one especially for Latter-day Saints!  I was able to connect with two other members who are here at institute. We swapped our mission and Teach for America stories, became friends, and have already arranged to go to church together.  We even made friends with the general Christian affinity group later in the evening. They are just as supportive and amazing!  I really feel like I am a part of a community again—one that wants to do other weekend activities outside of drinking J. Maybe together, we can think of something so fun, that my other awesome friends will join us!  One step closer…

5 Responses

  1. Nice post and it would be great for everyone, Thanks a lot for spreading this information here.

  2. The thing that surprised me most was that it wasn’t because I was the smartest or the most hard working (everyone around me is waaaaay more accomplished than me in those and many other respects), rather, it was simply because I did not allow myself to become paralyzed and frustrated. For one of the first times in my life, I was able to detach my performance from my personal worth. I didn’t let outcomes (or fear of bad outcomes) keep my present hostage. I am learning so much here! Love it!

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