Hello my darling, darling friends and fammmmm.
So it's my last full day of Induction here in Baltimore, tomorrow we head to Philadelphia to start our INTENSE training called Institute. I'm still missing you all very much.
This week has been truly amazing. We, as a corps, have had a ton of activities starting to prepare us for what we are getting into. We've had sessions about what TFA is all about, what our roles as teachers are, what will be our biggest challenges, safety, and diversity and understanding. The quality of these sessions have ranged from alright to really thought provoking and wonderful. I really liked our session on diversity. It's really interesting to see how racial differences ARE acknowledged and valued here. It took a LOT of talking and explaining for many of the people here (no matter what their race was) to fully get that having a lot of minorities in the corps is important but not the most valuable thing. And that it really is important to have role models from ALL backgrounds for these kids.
We had a safety session after the diversity one, however, that was much less satisfying. They had us write down questions about safety in a previous exercise and then had a panel to "address" our questions. But basically, they gave vague and similar answers for every concern. I would have liked much more if they'd broken down the crimes that occur in Baltimore, or perhaps the activity of gangs, or rifts between neighborhoods. If we're to be effective we have to not be ignorant to what these kids are going through. We need to understand what the realities are of this city so even if the kids themselves haven't gone through them, we see what the community experiences. I thought the session did a VERY poor job of addressing those issues because they didn't want to scare us. I was pretty disappointed, which was the first time I felt that way this week. Besides that, I've really enjoyed the conversations and information they've been giving us.
On a much better note, a couple evenings ago we went to my school. We had attended a community panel right before at a museum on the inner harbor. The panel consisted of a woman who is a professor of law here in Baltimore, a boy about to enter 12th grade, a man who is a TFA Bmore alum and now works in business in the city, and a pastor at a church in the city. They all had a lot to tell us about the city and our role in it. It was really empowering. Plus we got to eat a LOT of Mexican food which was WONDERFUL and DELICIOUS. Jayess. Then we walked just down the block to my school for a cupcake and wine social with TFA alum who have stayed in the city. My school was so beautiful, I really almost cried.
I met the principal and the man who is going to be my team teacher. Another corps member from 2010 is going to be working in the school too. His name is Brian. We all gathered together and talked a bit about next year. I'm so excited.