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.