Sunday, June 26, 2011

Week 1 of TFA: Setting High Expectations

Last week was my first week of TFA Institute. Institute is the five week TFA training program. It is also known as teacher boot-camp, which I have found to be the most accurate description. Institute as been A LOT so far and I know it will only get more intense and crazy this week.

We've gotten training on everything from lesson plans to management plans to investment plans to diversity to reading aloud. Starting at 7:30am and not ending until 4:30pm has been MUCH. But I can honestly say I've learned a lot. Institute has forced me to think about things that I would not have considered had I not gone through this intensive training.

The thing that they have really pushed is how every single thing we do has to be about the kids. We are not here to boost resumes or take two years off, and we're definitely not here for the salaries (saying teachers are underpaid is the understatement of the century, btw). We are here to serve children that desperately need motivated, qualified, sincere teachers. They are the focus of everything we will do during these five weeks of training and over the next two years in our placement schools.

TFA puts a lot of emphasis on setting really high goals for our kids and challenging them. Now, I must admit that I was a little worried about setting goals that were far too high and setting my kids up for failure. I mean, I know the poem great expectations and whatnot but trying to get a kid from a kindergarten to a fourth grade reading level in one year seemed crazy. But, today in church, the pastor said something that really resonated with me in terms of my TFA journey. He said, "Potential does not manifest without a demand." That one little sentence made everything fit. My kids have unlimited potential. They can do absolutely anything. As their teacher, it is up to me to allow that potential to manifest by challenging them and demanding the best.

So, that's exactly what I plan to do and I charge my fellow TFA corps members and all teachers to do the same. Believe in your students. Set the highest goals imaginable and watch your students accomplish them.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sometimes You Have To Let Go

I need to start this post off with a confession. I know very little about relationships with children involved. I do not have a child. I am clearly on the outside looking in.  With that being said.....

I hate to see my family and friends in relationships that are clearly dysfunctional- constant arguments, physical altercations, verbal abuse. I especially hate it when the children of these couples have to witness the dysfunction. The most common reasons I hear for continuing these relationships are "We gotta stay together for the baby." or "My baby needs to grow up with both parents."
In my opinion, these are just excuses. Yes, it's true that children who grow up with relationships with both parents do better in life. BUT the two parents don't have to be in a relationship with each other for the child to have a relationship with each parent. Putting the child first means doing what is in his or her best interest. Sometimes, that means ending an unhealthy relationship with the other parent, no matter how much security you feel that relationship gives you.
There have been so many studies done on how witnessing domestic violence (both verbal and physical) effects a child. You may think your child is too young to understand what is happening but I can tell you from personal experience that that's not true. Children, even very young ones, who witness domestic violence may (among other things):
- act out and become very aggressive (ex: hitting, kicking, biting)
- excessively seek attention
- have nightmares
- exhibit out-of-control behaviors
- have poor anger management or problem solving skills
- bully others
- participate in more high risk play (ex: jumping off high things)

Now, if you have other reasons for being in the relationship, be honest with yourself. If you're afraid that you won't be able to find anyone else, say that. If you think that people will judge you or look down on you for being a single parent, say that. If you don't want the other parent to end up with somebody else, say that. If people don't approve of your relationship and you're afraid to prove them right, say that. If you're afraid of being alone, that is something you need to admit to yourself and work on. But do not use your child as an excuse for staying in an unhealthy relationship because witnessing domestic violence is much worse than having parents that are separated. You need to love yourself and your child enough to remove yourself from that situation. All three of you will be much better off in the end.

I know people will have a lot to say about this post and I welcome the feedback. If I'm wrong, let me know. As I said at the beginning, I am on the outside looking in.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stop Gawking At Me!

So, today I went to dinner in the JE Dining Hall with Lusdy and Adrea. AS SOON AS I walked in to get my food, 3 (yes, 3) dining hall workers came out from the back, stood by the door and just stared at me. This happens every single time I go into the JE dining hall (and in Commons) and it's getting more annoying by the day.
People tell me to ignore them and, trust me, I try. I've done that for the past three and a half years and I'm getting tired of it. What makes you think it's okay to walk out in a group of 3 and stare at me? Can I live? Can I eat? The least you could do is come out one-at-a-time and try to be discreet about it. Or how about saying hello or something? But no. You just want to GAWK at me and talk amongst yourselves. Can I have my face back please? I do not come to my dining hall just so you can look at me.
So, my advice to the dining hall workers: Stop gawking at me! Grow up! Get a hobby! Before you end up looking for a new job!
Keepin' it 100.
Timeica E

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Monogamy Is Beautiful

I spend a lot of time thinking about love and relationships. I'm in a long-distance, long-term, monogamous relationship and I love it. I see a lot of my friends pretend to be monogamous but keep a "friend" or two on the side. I see friends play "the game" and keep multiple boyfriends or girlfriends because people "can't be trusted." These same people like to give me advice about how stupid it is to be monogamous at such a young age and how I should be exploring and blah blah blah.

I always hear, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." But why not? All of my eggs fit comfortably in my basket. Meanwhile, you're spreading your eggs out in more than one basket, which is doing nothing but adding weight and strain to your life.

Whenever I see Corey, I feel a happiness that I can't explain. When he holds me, I feel safe. When I look at his heart, I see my reflection. Now, I don't expect many people to understand this because not many people have felt that way. But don't judge me for putting all my eggs in one basket because, one day, you'll get tired of carrying around multiple baskets and you'll wish you were me.

This is for my friends (and others) who fool themselves and their mates into thinking they're monogamous when they're not. This is also for my friends (and others) who complain about not being in a relationship but are too afraid to put all their eggs in one basket and see what happens. Most importantly, this is for all the people who judge those of us in monogamous relationships, whether you say it out loud or just think it. We can feel your negative, judging vibes so don't play yourself. Remember that life is about taking risks so don't be afraid to try it out and don't judge people because it works both ways.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Review of "For Colored Girls"

Last night, I went to see For Colored Girls at the Milford Mall with a group of around 25 other Yalies. The theatre was completely sold out. There were men and women (mostly women) of all ages there.

My opinion: I loved it!!! I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars. I thought Tyler Perry did a great job. The monologues were well-placed. The colors were great. The casting was great (although I would've loved to see some Yale in the mix*Angela Bassett*) and the roles were appropriately assigned. The movie was very emotional, which I expected. There were times to laugh and times to cry and times to be angry and times to be shocked. It was also a great conversation sparker. I left the theatre craving a discussion about it, which is exactly what happened. There were some differing opinions about the placement of the monologues but, overall, my friends and I liked it.

My thoughts: I will do my best not to give anything away for those who haven't seen the movie yet. I fear that some people will walk away from the movie hating Kimberly Elise's husband and Janet Jackson's husband without fully understanding their characters. Although the movie is focused on Black women, it also touches on some of the problems that men face, both in Black society and overall. I hope that people will really think about the lives of these characters just as much as the female characters.

My experience in the theatre: It was a very trying experience for me. One of my biggest pet peeves is ignorance in movie theaters. There were so many times when I wanted to scream "shut up" or "stop laughing" throughout the film. People laughed EVERY TIME Whoopi Goldberg's character came on screen. Yes, Whoopi is a comedian and she is pretty funny, but her character in this film was actually serious. She had some very serious monologues and conversations that were completely overshadowed by laughter. Are we that ignorant that we can't tell comedy from drama? If you know you lack maturity, you should not see this film.
Another pet peeve of mine is when I see children in situations that they shouldn't be in. I was very upset to see small children in this Rated R film. Everyone knew from the previews that this is not a family film so WHY would you bring your kids to see it? There was a family of 5 in my theatre- a mom/adult and 4 kids. They were between the ages of 2 and 9 (I think). The mom sat in the row in front of us with the 2 year old on her lap and the other three kids were sitting behind her. During the very emotional parts of the movie when the audience cried (you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it), these kids started bawling. I just wanted to hug them and slap their mom. NO CHILD should see this movie. Even if you think you child is too young to understand it, they will cry if they see a bunch of adults crying around them. This movie was Rated R for a reason. There was nudity, swearing, violence and everything else you expect to see in an R-rated movie. If you can't find a babysitter, you need to stay home or go see Megamind.

Overall, I think For Colored Girls is a must-see. I'm going to see it again, hopefully without the inappropriate laughter and kids.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Birthday Prayer

I want to thank You for life and health and strength. Thank You for allowing me to see another birthday. I am very grateful for all of the many blessings You have bestowed upon me this year. Thank You for all of the amazing new people you have brought into my life these last 12 months. Thank You for all of the people that have stayed in my life and for removing people from my life that were stunting my growth. I am so grateful for my loving, supporting family and friends. Thank You for progress, growth, and maturity. Thank You for the progress I have seen in my personal relationships. I ask Your continued blessings throughout this next year of my life and I thank You in advance for all the amazing things that will happen to me before my next birthday.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Things I Miss

So, I've been reminiscing a lot lately with my friends, both from home and from school and I've come up with all of these things that I miss about my past. I grew up in Chicago a.k.a. The Best City Ever. I went to elementary school with some of my best friends in the world. Now, I'm at Yale with some of my new best friends. All in all, I've made memories with all of them and I wanted to share those by talking about things that I miss.
So, I miss...

  • running home before the street lights came on
  • walking through Leclaire Courts going nowhere
  • walking to the corner store for a bag of chips and a quarter juice
  • chips actually costing a quarter!
  • penny candy at the candy lady
  • hiding Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Hot Crunchy Curls in my desk
  • putting chips in balled-up paper and passing them to my friends
  • passing notes in class and all of my friends writing in different colors
  • "Will you be my girlfriend?" notes with the yes, no or maybe boxes
  • Daily Oral Language (DOL) and Daily Oral Math (DOM)
  • bag lunch for field trips
  • Sour and dill pickle with a bag of Flamin Hots
  • water fights in the back of Quentin's house
  • Precious's house parties
  • Melissa braiding my hair
  • parents randomly showing up at school
  • Simone's mom bringing her lunch every day
  • Pizza parties every Friday in 6th grade
  • snowball fights until my fingers went pale and numb
  • being the "Board Eraser"
  • saying the Pledge of Allegiance every single morning
  • trying out for the cheerleading teams without learning how to do cartwheels
  • waiting for the 2:30 bell to ring
  • "Bethel! What's the answer to #4?"
  • Life is like a roller coaster.....
  • awards assemblies every marking period
  • the 60/20 schedule. Who thought of that ish???
  • not going past the red poles
  • fried salami and cheese sandwiches at Alante's before cheerleading practice
  • watching 2 episodes of Arthur after school
  • watching Recess during One Saturday Morning
  • Family Matters on TGIF
  • Free and AJ on 106 & Park
  • Child's Play movies every Halloween
  • Are You Afraid of The Dark?
  • The Secret World of Alex Mac
  • learning how to ride a back at the age of 12 (don't judge me!)
  • Rugrats
  • Zoom
  • Magic Schoolbus
  • Where in the WORLD is Carmen Sandiego??? (Seriously, I still don't know where she is)
  • The Wild Thornberry's (a.k.a. The McDows)
  • only having a dollar at McDonalds and sharing a cheeseburger with 4 people
  • going out EVERY weekend freshman year
  • "I have crushes..."
  • wearing stilettos to every party
  • running from the boys throwing eggs on Halloween
  • new outfits for my birthday
  • one bus to Ford City
  • Air Force Ones costing $50
  • catching 3 buses to church
  • Friday night choir rehearsal
  • racing across the parking lot