Shy Town

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 07 2012


I’ve noticed TFA does a lot of surveys. I must get a survey in my email about once a week, asking me what I think about my CMA, my region, my TS, my ECE cohort, my placement school, etc. I think it is great to request feedback and even better if you act on the feedback you’re given. On Friday, the corps members working in my summer placement had the opportunity to sit down with someone from the Chicago region and give her feedback as well. Because ECE is running a pilot program out of the Chicago Institute they’re constantly looking for ways to improve the program. As my family knows, I could give constructive criticism all day (and sometimes not so constructive…) but being in TFA has also been teaching me how to give constructive praise.

So here’s some praise, TFA:

  • My CMA rocks. She’s supportive, she’s fun, and she keeps me focused and motivated with little notes and candies all week long. I totally appreciate all the work she’s put in to help me, my collab, and the rest of Team Boom to succeed throughout institute and I hope she feels the love.
  • Every time I’ve given some aspect of feedback specifically about something happening at institute, I’ve seen it resulting in a change, almost immediately. I don’t know if it’s because me and 250 other people are thinking the same thing or if I’m just talking to the right people but something is working. I think when all these surveys are constantly getting sent to us, sometimes we think that we’re just going to be helping to improve institute for next year’s corps members, but knowing that things could improve next week if I say something this week, is really motivating me to not just delete all those surveys.
  • Good on you for the DCA sessions. Sometimes they’re hard to handle, and they definitely still need some work, but it’s clear that who ever is in charge of setting up these sessions is hearing us loud and clear and is working tirelessly to make sure they’re inclusive environments, that also help us contemplate how we view ourselves and our students. This is something I originally didn’t think was a necessary component of teaching but now, I don’t see how you could teach without it. (That’s for another blog post) (Disclaimer: I’m speaking specifically about the sessions run for the ECE cohort at the Chicago Institute. I know a ton of people don’t think the DCA sessions are being led properly and would rather do away with them entirely, but for the ECE group, I think we’re on the right path)
  • This partnership with IIT is pretty sweet. (I do wish IIT had longer dinner hours, though that’s not TFA’s fault)
  • I’m not going to lie, when I first got here, I thought it was a little lame that I had to share my “Story of Self” (I’ll tell mine to the blogging community at a later date) with a bunch of people I didn’t know in order to have them understand me. But it really does work. I actually sat in the caf the other day with a friend and looked at someone and said “I wonder what his story of self is.” Everyone at institute comes from such different backgrounds, and we all joined TFA for so many different reasons, I think the “Story of Self” assignment does a great job of encompassing everyones differences and allows us all to share where we come from, why we’re here, and what we’re working towards.

I don’t know how many times I can say this without it sounding overdone, but I am really thankful to be here. I know that sometimes I sound a little skeptical of the TFA mission, but I can tell they really are trying to fight for quality educations for students across the nation.

Now for all of you on Teach For Us, thanks so much for all your feedback via the comments you leave me. I know things are going to be different out there in the real world, far away from institute land. All your comments are truly helping me prepare myself for what it’s going to be like teaching everyday without my collab, my CMA, and everyone else in the ECE cohort.

THANKS & love


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    Little kids, big city, one me.

    Early Childhood

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