I’ve been scouring Teach For Us blog posts, digesting TFA-recommended articles, and devouring random TED videos for three-and-a-half tumultuous days powered by coffee, ice cream, and peaches. In three weeks I move to Chicago; in four weeks I go to Induction; in five weeks I start Institute; in fifteen weeks I’ll (need to be ready to) lead a classroom of middle school math students.
The first thing I did when I heard that institute is at IIT was look up their in-room alcohol policies in order to meticulate a list of items designed for thrival. I’m bringing my yoga mat and my keyboard. Bottles of wine, copious amounts of tea, an electric water heater; my favorite grown-up costumes, my favorite shower oil; a fan, dorm-sized sheets, a lamp, a rug. Plato, Emerson, Carson, de Beauvoir. Poe. A well-placed drizzle of romanticism can cool the tumbling embers of rational doubt. I’m bringing uncharacteristic optimism, a good attitude, and a stack of promises. Don’t boast about accomplishments; congratulate others duly. Don’t forget myself; maintain a consistent yoga practice. Don’t gossip during institute; remain courteous and kind. Love the children; tell them they’re brilliant; believe in them; make no exceptions. We are fighting through the trenches of the inequitable institution of education and my weapons of choice are humility, calm, kindness, and persistence. Hopefully, I’ve chosen the correct weapons for this battlefield I’ve never seen.