So, I've been in Philadelphia now for a week and one day...my brain can't even process this because it feels like I've been here for at least a month. I guess that's what bare minimum sleep will do to you after a while. And I have no concept of the outside world at all, I'm barely accessing news websites, let alone no TV, and minimal contact with anyone from home.
Tomorrow is one of the first Institute thresholds - we have our first two rough draft lesson plans for next week due. That means that on Tuesday we begin our lessons, meaning that on Tuesday I will be in front of an actual classroom of fourth graders teaching a phonics lesson. It's only 30 minutes long, but I'm still nervous. And in case you're confused, we do our training at a summer school this month.
On Monday, the first day of Institute, it was 100 degrees in Philly. Not so bad I guess if you're at the beach or indoors. But our school had NO A/C and we had to wear professional dress. I was miserable and that caused me to become angry and frustrated, and I'll just admit that that night I really just wanted to give up and go home. I was overtired and sick of dressing up, and the heat was unbearable, and I just wanted to pack my things and go home and do something that actually made me happy. But since then I've done a 180 and I'm feeling a lot better. Today's weather was only 80 degress and I swear it felt like fall.
Our Institute workbook/manual is an 800-page MONSTER (photo to come).
For the last week or so I've been averaging about five hours of sleep per night. I typically wake up around 5:30am because we have to get our lunch, eat breakfast, and be on our school buses by 6:30. Add to that dressing in professional clothing and walking to the dining hall which is ten minutes away in 100 degree heat and it's not that fun.
It's also really strange, but I've seen and met so many "friend Doppelgängers" since I've been here. I think there are at least a dozen people who are creepily similar both physically and personality-wise to people I know from home - it's uncanny!
Sunday we moved from UPenn's campus in University City to Temple University which is in the north of the city, and while the campus is alright, I don't like it here that much. The surrounding area isn't that great, and North Philly is notorious for being a bad area. When we drive to the elementary school each morning we ride through some rough looking areas. Back at UPenn it was just our 220 person corps, but now we've added CT, RI, Baltimore, and DC corps so we have a pretty hefty group of about 500 corps members. At my elementary school there are about fifty of us who are a mix of all regions. At the school we're broken down further into CMA (corps member advisor) groups of about 12 people and then even further into collabs, which are four person groups. These collabs are the people we will be "collaborating" with to make lessons and teach, and each collab is in charge of a classroom of students. Mine happens to be fourth graders.
Tomorrow at school we are performing a DRA (diagnostic reading assessment?) for our students to determine their reading level. It's insane, because last night we had a two hour lecture on how to administer the test (one-on-one with a student) and already I feel like I can do it with minimal problems - further proof that I am actually learning a lot of information here.
I'm also meeting people from all over the country, and as I said before everyone seems to be really personable and friendly, and it's easy to relate to one another. Not many Asians, but I can look past that!
Alright, let's end this post with a list of things that I am not really feeling...
Lunches - sick of PB&J every day
No sleep - UGH I sleep about 5hrs a night
Low flow showers - enough said
Smelly feet - my feet are pretty smelly for some reason...