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  • I finished up my first week as a Teach for America Corp Member on Friday and it has been an emotional, inspirational, and tough week! One of my goals this year is to spend at least an hour a week doing my photography and updating Cowbird more often. I couldn't think of a better time to start than now. Also, I have so many people who have been my support these past few crazy weeks and though I'd love to talk to each of them individually, my 15-hour workdays don't allow it. I hope that Cowbird can be a good way for all of my loves to see what I'm doing and read about what I'm going through.

    This photo is from Rice University in Houston where I'm currently staying. I got up early this morning and went for a walk with my camera. It's been a while since I've picked up my dSLR and it felt so unbelievably good to get lost behind the lens.

    TFA has been an interesting experience so far. It feels like I'm a college freshman again -- feeling that unnerving social pressure to fit in and hang out with the "cool" kids. I had to take a step back and realize that though I may feel like a freshman, I'm not. I am an accomplished young woman with a passion for educational equality and that's why I'm here. One of my favorite quotes is "All matters, thoughts, and sensations are impermanent shifting relative to everything in the universe." I believe its from a sacred Buddhist text but don't quote me on that. As my good friend and I always say, "Trust in your core."

    Anyways, my first week of actually teaching went so well!! I had a group of 6 students and they instantly became "my kids". My group and I (there are 4 of us) each teach about an hour a day and seriously our students make me smile like crazy. The thought that I'm actually helping them accomplish their goal of moving up to the 6th grade is incredibly rewarding. I was really scared of going into the classroom at first. I didn't know how I would I like being in front of the classroom, but so far, I'm really loving it. Right now, I have no doubt in my mind that this is where I belong.

    This week was not all rainbows and butterflies though (I mean when is it really ever?) TFA gives a ton of things to do everyday besides teach. We have to submit copious amounts of lesson plans, go to seminars, and just generally have no free time during the week whatsoever. Honestly, it's like finals week on steroids. I consider one of my strong points to be time-management and planning, but I still found the workload overwhelming. This week should be better though! This Friday, we found out that one of our students (my favorite though I'm not supposed to have favorites) was moving! That broke my heart. Though I'd only known him for four days, I was really, really upset about it.
    Also, the achievement gap became a reality for me this week. I'm teaching students that are preparing to go to middle school yet they are reading at 2nd and 3rd grade levels. This thought breaks my heart and fills me with rage simultaneously.

    I am seriously so so so blessed to have this opportunity and I can't wait to see what this week has in store.
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