Meta-Institute

My brain is positively twisted in knots, and my subconscious doesn’t know if it’s supposed to be thinking what it’s thinking, or it’s just thinking it on its own. We spend all our days in classes about classes, reading lesson plans about making lesson plans, listening to lectures about lectures, and participating in group discussions about group discussions.

I see all of our instructors modeling (the catch phrase of TFA) the proper behavior of a teacher while they’re teaching it, and I have lost the ability to differentiate between how they would genuinely instruct and how they’re trying to convince us to instruct. It’s mind-boggling, I tell you. The power of group mentality and persuasive speech is frighteningly powerful, and my awareness of the 1984-esque quality of the Opening Ceremonies jars uncomfortably with my genuine (?) excitement and enthusiasm which resulted from the presentations. Just because you’re aware of the structures in place which are acting on you does NOT mean that they lose their effect. It’s weird. Weird.

All this instruction about internalization pushes my contemplation one step further; what have I internalized in the past two weeks? Will I be able to notice it if I’ve already internalized it? Who has the right and power to do these things? What if teachers used their power for evil? All valid questions. It’s like we’re training super-heroes and mad scientists, with a little bit of the Wizard of Oz. Wizards who have to speak in a firm but kind tone.

So confusing.

That said, today was a Good Day, capital letters included. Although there were attention span dips and swings, the absolute low coming when I could see two CMA’s (Corps Member Advisors) wavering in front of two identical posters, 6 tables, and bobbing heads during our CMC sesssion (Classroom Management and Culture…TFA likes acronyms, did you notice? An acronym (TFA) to describe another set of acronyms (CMC, CMA); the meta just doesn’t end!), classes actually began to be relevant, and I didn’t want to die 45 min into our 90 minute class.

Then, in a moment of random affirmation, my CMA handed me a post-it note as we boarded the school bus to go back to the dorms, both modeling the random positive reinforcement and encouraging intrinsic learning desire also advocated by the TFA doctrine. I must admit that at first I didn’t quite clue in to the fact that he might just be practicing the “raise your students’ self-esteem” lesson objective, but dammit, why can’t I have done a good job too? These whole multi-layered, textured motives are so confusing, they make me apprehensive.

More meetings! more meetings, and my good day didn’t stop after that, so I’ll be back after a reunion with the Miami peeps. Oh, how I miss them so.

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