Where to start

TFA institute is a whirlwind of acronyms and trial by fire.  Rather than reflect and make a compelling narrative about my struggles learning to become a teacher, here is a spattering of bulleted observations:

  • really 2 hours of sleep is enough
  • Houston is a humid as Drew Barrymore is annoying
  • My summer school kids are frickin’ rock stars
  • never take literacy for granted
  • type A achievers achieve at whatever the task at hand, especially drinking
  • I am appalled that rest of the country doesn’t appreciate cowboy boots
  • Making up acronyms and using them as if they meant something is a lot of fun
  • Commiserating is the best bonding
  • I love my teacher voice
  • There are some folk I just can’t work with
  • Teaching logarithms is tough when my kids struggle with multiplication
  • Humility can be really funny
  • the teacher look is the new black
  • Snoring room + ear plugs = problem solved
  • veteran teachers are a gift from God
  • my kids continue to be rock stars

That is all I could do in five minutes.  Time for sweet sweet sleep.


Learning what I’ll teach

Yesterday I took a full length practice TExES 8-12 Mathematics test.  It is the test I will need to pass on June 26 in order to get in the classroom in the fall.  I got an 86, which means I passed comfortably.  The first practice test I took I got a 71, which passes uncomfortably.  The test is not too challenging.  Studying is more or less a rehashing of high school math with a bit of learning theory mixed in.  The hard part has been relearning the mathematical rigor behind the concepts I refused to understand once-upon-a-time.

I’ve actually enjoyed studying because it lets me ruminate on how I would teach these concepts that I thought were a stupid waste of brainspace in high school.  Complex numbers are a pretty sexy topic once I thought it over a while.  What I’ve found though was the more I thought about teaching a concept, the more lucid and manageable the concept became.  I can’t tell you how many times I memorized the trig identities and the forgot them because I never saw the point.  Once those made sense issues in calculus I have always struggled with became clear.  I feel like a basketball player fresh out of a clinic on fundamentals.  Passing drills aren’t exactly fun, but it doesn’t take long before the effort pays dividends.  Now its time to focus on moving.  Teach For America induction starts on Thursday!

Ends and Beginnings

This is the first post in my new blog.  I have enjoyed sharing the load at the Daily Crockett, and I will continue to post as Seguin whenever I find something that I know that my co-bloggers will enjoy.  But I am spinning off this solo project because I am celebrating the end and beginning of things.

I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin yesterday with degrees in History, and Economics.  To dispense with the cliches as quickly as possible, these past four years have been the best four years of my life.  My undergraduate career has been challenging, fulfilling, enriching, and oh so much fun.

Like seriously. Big heaping handfuls of fun.

But now for something completely different.  Here in a few short weeks, I begin my new career as a high school math teacher thanks to the good folks at Teach For America.  I am trading Austin–and all of its weird glory–for Houston.  Though I don’t know the city well, I am lucky to have so many friends who do.

I am blogging now to chronicle my story as a new teacher.  It’s the easiest way I know to keep friends and family updated on my experience.  Because it’s me, expect a healthy smattering of economics (hence the title) , education policy, politics, and whatever else I find interesting.  Who knows, we might even learn something.