"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called." -A.A. Milne
I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion." -Muhammad Ali
So last week I had training for my new job. Some things I learned:
- Minnesota Reading Corps, approaching 800 members, is the largest AmeriCorps organization in the country.
- Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, when he speaks, has a repetitive gesturing pattern. (Also, cool that he came and spoke at our training.)
- John Gomperts is the director of AmeriCorps--he spoke at our training too, and proceeded to skip a line of our pledge (but then fixed it).
- Target is EVERYWHERE in Minnesota. Every possible event or organization seems to list Target as a sponsor/donor. MRC is no exception.
- When I keep myself constantly full of caffeinated beverages, I don't fall asleep when I'm bored. (at Carleton, I fell asleep during several classes that were WAY more interesting than training.)
- Like just about everything I do, there is a huge gender imbalance in the MRC. We had a men's restroom converted into a women's, and there were still long lines at breaks.
So wait, did I learn anything worthwhile? You know, pertinent to my job? Well, yeah. I learned (slower than I would have liked) the assessments and interventions I'll be using with my students. But not until the second half of day 2 did any real learning happen. Day 1 was just a bunch of introduction stuff, where we went over what we were supposed to have read for "homework." The first half of Day 2 was a bunch of speakers--the governor, some lady from Target, another from the United Way, the director of AmeriCorps, the director of MRC...all basically patting us on the back for taking part in this great organization, blah blah blah, and making some crack about the "sea of red" in the audience--red is the MRC color, and we all had to wear red on day 2.
Plus, a couple hours that morning was getting to know the coach at our school site, and the other members at our site. But wait, sorry Amy, you're the only one at your site AND have no coach yet! So I spent that time getting more tea, and taking yet another bathroom break. Luckily, I wasn't freaking out, because I didn't have burning questions about my school, given that I've worked there, and have done a year of AmeriCorps.
Things got better from that disappointment of a morning--I actually got a picture of what my time will be like with the students. But, having worked with kids reading, and having done some testing for some teachers last year, I picked up the material pretty fast. So it was useful, but boring and slow. And, to make it better, we had to practice the assessments with each other. Which is totally unrealistic--one, we make the most well behaved kids. And two, it's hard to make mistakes sound natural. I felt like an idiot looking at a b, but saying p. or looking at a q and saying g, so that my partner could practice the error correction procedure. I suppose practice makes perfect, and we might as well not be stumbling over words when we work with kids.
Really, the best part of training was hanging out with my friend Jessie, and getting whatever they had for snack--one day it was ice cream bars, another cupcakes. Mmmmmm. So take that as you will, I'm just ready for school to start again.