Pros: supportive learning environment for first year educators
A typical training day in Teach For America begins at 7:30 am at my school training site. At my school site from 7:30-7:45, I would begin preparing materials for pre-k students to arrive. I taught and co-taught half days, which meant at 1 pm I would leave my school site for professional development. From 1pm to 6pm would begin PD covering a wide range of topics from TALK strategies, Head Start Regulations, Unit Planning, Creative Curriculum, lesson planning, behavioral management practices including the No Non-sense Nurturer approach, and GOLD objectives. The last part of the evening was reserved for socratic seminar discussion on inequities in education, until usually 7 or 8pm.
I learned how to shape my time management skills even tighter than previous experiences, and I learned effective teaching strategies through a rooted philosophy of student led play (pre-K) and teacher objective driven lessons. I worked in a collaborative of four people in a Chicago co-hort of close to forty corps members. Each member of my collaborative brought unique skills to the table to learn from, and as a group we collaborated on classroom decisions. The most difficult part of the job was in collaborating on classroom decisions, as each of us were training to become lead teachers. The most enjoyable part of the job was every morning for me, when my students would arrive. In a pre-K environment at a community based organization parents are often required to enter the room in the morning. The relationships built with the parents were often the key to a successful day for each student. The morning arrival was my favorite part of my day because I could gauge from parents and students what each student was going to need that particular day, in order for it to be a successful day academically and emotionally.