Induction, Day 2: Spirits Rise

So I’m feeling a lot better about TFA today, even though parts of the day today were kind of a drag.  Yesterday I was so sleep deprived I could barely think, but today I could put in the effort, and it paid off.  Every time I felt like all I wanted to do was go lay down and read my book, I would force myself to re-re-re-re-engage.  It sucked for an introvert like me, but I’m pretty proud of myself even so.

Today everyone’s spirits seem to be much higher, with more dumb jokes and the like, and that had a lot to do with my own energy.  We talked about a number of things… leadership in the morning, diversity in the afternoon…  There is a little bit of impatience when it comes to getting down to the practical application of the model, but I am more grateful that we are collectively talking, in a stress-free atmosphere, about all these “corps beliefs and values” that we have been reading about in all our pre-institute stuff, working with what it means to us personally.  Again, I am just blown away by how open and interesting everybody has been.

Still, even though this is still kind of the “transition” stage, I want to say we are putting our practical pants on.  Nothing is said without being put into context.  All the cheesy “leadership” quotes and discussions, you know, about being the change you want to see in the world, are completely relevant and true.  Nothing rings false whatsoever because TFA knows its goals, knows how to work constructively toward them, acknowledges everything head-on in an effort to be most effective, wants to continually improve, and hot damn no one freaking gives up.  No one is alone.  One leader today told me that yes, he worked with a girl who went home last year.  But he also knew thirty others in his group who had their lives completely altered.  Here I am sitting in a room with over a hundred young adults talking practically about changing the world.  Not “changing the world” but really changing the world.  We have a plan, and we are getting on it.  It’s not idealism, it’s next week’s agenda.

It’s the reason I feel I fit in even when I don’t.  Even though some times today I felt lame and awkward, I have so much respect for everyone–it makes reevaluation and not being too defensive so much easier.

It got a little rough during the afternoon though.  We had a long scavenger hunt all over the city, and while I liked meeting people and liked seeing the city, I have to be honest: it was the hardest I’ve ever tried to look like I cared about something I honestly just didn’t give a crap about.  I appreciated the teamwork and the idea behind it, but honestly, I just wanted to freaking get out.

That said, we did finish and it was good.  The city is just vacant looking all the time, with a real spread-out, industrial feel, but tucked into nooks and crannies are really hip, interesting clubs and cafes and places I want to be.  Like a Mexican restaurant that sources locally and has Mexican wrestling, what up.  So I like Tulsa so far.  Coming from a state that doesn’t really have a good rep in the nation myself, I think I am more than ready to get my pride on for Oklahoma.

After the hunt I pretty much wanted to read my book and sit still and be quiet for a while, but  for some reason the voice of Allie Movrich kept playing in my head.  I’m Rachael… blah blah blah.  We’ve been talking a lot about taking “me time” around here, so I had to ask myself whether I really needed it, and for once the answer was no, actually you do have the energy to go out.

So, I went bowling.

I’m glad I did, because I had a few great conversations there.  First there is Ryan, who is going to be one of the former CMs in charge of high school English next year.  We talked about teachers unions (pros and cons!) and about our favorite books, and it made me really fired up about not just “closing the achievement gap” or being a teacher but about being a high school English teacher.  It was like I had finally found a fellow nerd in the group.

Another leader… they all have acronyms, but I don’t know them yet… told us all today that she is an introvert and had a hard time talking to new folks, but that she adjusted and fits in fine with her corps.  I talked to her a bit about her experience, and I don’t know, now I feel a little bit safer.  Like, it’s okay to be kind of awkward and quiet, just as long as you are positive, open, and excited about teaching.

In dramatic conclusion, induction is going pretty well.  I’m a little overwhelmed with all the loud noise and enthusiasm and small talk, but it is vastly outweighed by the positive, intelligent, open minded, and diverse people who just happen to be the noisemakers.  Or rather, my fellow noisemakers.  It’s pretty swell.  I guess I’ll just stick to my nerdly guns and hope that all goes well :)

Two more days of induction and then I’m road tripping it to Phoenix, AZ!

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~ by Rachael on June 9, 2011.

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