I recently sent out an insanely long email to the five new Dumas corps members, and immediately felt like I’m doin’ too much. To help rationalize the amount of time (too much) I spent ranting, I’m posting it here. I know TFAnet probs has about 800 more, but here’s the C-line Spin.
(how to be) Totally F’n Awesome:
1) Figure out your email.
You might have literally 3,000 emails in your inbox, but email management = less stress, and is a good life skill. This guy has a lot to say about this, and titled it “bit literacy.”
- Archive anything not immediately relevant, or anything you’ve already read
- If a task is less than 10 minutes do it immediately when you read the email. Just do it and move on.
- Anything that asks an action of you (5 minute email response, friend email, etc.) keep it [unread] in your inbox until you finish it
- Try to keep your inbox to one page of emails (my inbox never goes over 25)
2) Decide how to stay in touch.
If you’re like me and prefer writing over talking (notice I haven’t called anyone yet?!), set up a blog (at teachforus.org! which is only for TFA!) If you do like talking, decide now the exact day and time you will regularly call your boyfriend/ mom/ BFF/ whoever keeps you sane. You will need that person! More than that, that person is going to have absolutely no concept of what you’re going through. Sometimes it feels easier to just go to bed then call, but those calls can be really important to the people that love you. And having one thing to look forward to every week (day?) really helps. (Also, start asking for care packages now.)
3) Do pre-work, but don’t stress pre-work.
As a CMA who may or may not be asked to “check” to see what you did: I’m not going to “check” anything. You will not get in trouble for not doing/finishing it, but having it done will have a huge positive impact on your experience overall. So if you’re not finished, don’t stress, but don’t ignore it, either. (No idea if y’all have the amount I did, but I didn’t come close to finishing mine…)
4) Plan your summer trip if you’re taking one.
I went home between institute and school starting, and I’m very glad I did. It was a great breather before everything went cray cray in “real” teaching. Again, I’m sure you’ll be better prepared than I was at institute, but taking that trip also helped minimize the “WTH AM I DOING” period of excruciating uncertainty with those first planning documents.
5) Set up habits your first week of institute.
Similar to the phone call and email deal. Think about how you know you should live/act before you get to institute, and stick to it if you can. Routine helps the constant unpredictable things seem more manageable, and planning for consistent sleep & breakfast helps tons. My institute aims (feel free to hold me accountable, hah) are: run three times a week, go out Fridays, spend all Saturdays outside, work Sundays, and all weekday schedules will be school, dinner, run, work.
6) Know Caroline is relatively cray cray.
You might be able to tell that I was an RA for two years in school, an orientation leader, I am obsessed with welcoming people, etc. I don’t want to overload you, but I want you to be prepared as possible! ALSO, I know plenty of you are older than me and you’re all probs incredibly “older” with intellect, kindness, endurance, ability to own dogs, etc. so I reeeally hope this doesn’t sound patronizing or anything grossly similar. I’m pretty sure I would’ve loved emails like this coming in, but feel free to ignore my tangents!