I flew into Phoenix, drove all night to Gallup (while listening to science audiobooks…I’m a dork), got in 2 hours before my first session of Orientation started, and so began this whole thing on 1 hour of sleep. This was a poor life decision.
But today was marginally better after a full night’s sleep, and I am almost officially done with TFA summer sessions! What???? It’s very exciting, because there is definitely such a thing as too many sessions and too many deep conversations and we are rapidly approaching that point/may have left it behind in Phoenix. Still, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is my future students waiting for me in 4th grade. We’re doing lots of envisioning big goals for our kids and what we want our classroom culture to be like. Although I’m somewhat shaky because I think a lot of that planning will change and evolve as my kids’ needs become apparent. At the same time, it’s good to have what one of our session facilitators keeps calling a “blue sky” idea, a vision of what we want for our kids with no restrictions, no thoughts of what big challenges are in their way, no allowances for their potentially really low starting points. That way we don’t unconsciously lower our expectations later.
Here’s what I want for my classroom. I want kids to value each other, recognize what is positive and great about each other and express that respect to one another. I want kids to love our classroom and school, both because they understand how important school is to their future goals and because they genuinely love learning. I want students to be able to work independently and be just as focused, driven, and productive as when I’m working with them. I want students to be able to self-evaluate and self-advocate, understanding when they are confused, pointing to what confuses them, and being able to seek solutions and help for that confusion. They don’t have to go to college, but they should have the opportunity to make that choice themselves, and I want them to be able to think about goals they have for themselves, places they want to go in their lives.
So there’s a lot left to think about before school starts, not to mention setting up my house (!!!!) and getting my classroom together. But I’m having fun dreaming–I mean, planning.