Stir Up the World

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 13 2012

keep moving forward

overheard today, in the middle of a discussion about scatter plots:

“Do moles have cancer?  Do they affect your life?”

I don’t know why I found that funny, but suddenly everything my students said was hilarious.  Sometimes when I’m tired, I get really cranky or really loopy — either one, not both.  Today I was just really loopy.  We’re short on subs, so I had 2 classes in my room, which was interesting.  I don’t know how teachers in one-room schoolhouses did it.

Anyway, I think the dust is settling with teaching/school.  Things are calming down, and I am finally getting into a groove with school (6 weeks after break).  I’m realizing that as a beginning teacher your effectiveness goes like this:







Rather than this:



There are some days (and class periods) that I’m a rockstar, and some days that my students wouldn’t really notice if I weren’t there. 

At Pro-Sat on Saturday (ugh), I realized that school is actually going okay.  Usually Pro-Sat makes me feel like I’m a horrible person and that I need to overhaul everything on Monday, but I don’t really need to change anything right now.  I just need to be patient with the changes I’ve already made.

I used to believe that one’s development as a teacher was a destination you could reach.  One day you just “got there”.  But I’ve realized that it really is a process.  As cliche as it sounds, it really is all about the journey.  You have no choice but to keep moving forward. 

I’m still having BIG money problems.  As in, spending more than I make.  Given my salary and living situation, if I didn’t have any debt, I would be doing fine.  Money would be tight, but I would be okay. 

As it stands, I owe TFA $1500 and my credit cards $6000, all from the transition of moving here and getting settled.  With my minimum credit card payments and paying back my TFA loan, I’m spending more than I take in.  Cool.  I feel like TFA really let us have a misconception about how expensive this experience would be.  Right now I’m going to tighten up my budget even more, but I still have to look at summer jobs and other ways to make money.  I’m going to probably start baby-sitting on the weekends.  Just to warn all of you 2o12 CMs: make sure you have savings!!

The countdown has begun:  5 weeks till Spring Break, and after Spring Break only 8 more weeks of school!

4 Responses

  1. I teach in a one-room school (well, one room plus a mudroom and a bathroom.). It’s actually pretty excellent once you get it ticking over properly, as long as you can keep it going. Like juggling.

  2. CM2012

    Geez–I’m a 2012 CM, and thanks for the warning about the money situation. I was kind of wondering how much this was all going to add up to. Any tips or ideas for cutting transitional costs? I already have a roommate lined up for when I move there so I know I can split the rent for an apartment, but it’s the whole “renting a truck, paying a deposit on an apartment and furnishing an apartment” thing that I’m worried about. I’m traveling halfway across the country to a region where I won’t have much support in terms of family or friends.

    • els

      I’m totally in the same boat, except 1 year later :). My tips:
      1. make sure you have a reliable car
      2. get a low-interest credit card (or 2 or 3)
      3. get your professional wardrobe set

      I wrote an earlier post (in October) entitled “money” — I broke down basically all of my expenses. Look it up if you want more details.

      I had $5,000 saved, and it wasn’t nearly enough. I didn’t get paid from when I quit my job in May until September, and I drove to the Delta. I didn’t even spend too much on furniture; my roommate already had most of it, and I basically just bought a bed and a microwave.

      That’s all I’ve got — if I have more advice, I’ll definitely post it. Good luck, and email me if you have more questions!! [email protected]

  3. Kurt (Community Manager)

    Congratulations! Your post has been featured on the Teach For Us homepage.

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February 2012
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the title

"If one desires to 'stir up the world,' it is easy to be impatient with work for the sake of work. Yet no story's end can forsake its beginning and its middle." -Joshua Wolf Shank on Abraham Lincoln