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updates for 12.23.2010

4 new posts today

Please take The Great TFA Survey

http://relentlesspoa.teachforus.org/2010/12/22/the-great-tfa-survey-is-live-please-take-it/#comment-549349 You finally have a chance to give honest, anonymous feedback about your experience with TFA. Visit the link above, read the blog post on Relentless Pursuit of Acronyms, and *please* take a few minutes to complete the survey. -Sunny

New endeavors...

So...about consistently updating...teaching left me a little busy, to say the least.  To recap: teaching is really hard but it's an awesome experience and I've met incredible people in the process.  If you're really curious as to stories just ask, I have too many to possibly list.  Anyway, the real reason why I resurrected this was to inform everyone about a program that was started at my school. So another teacher and I started this mentorship/leadership program for 36 students at our school.  The program is called "ATLAS" (Advancing Towards Lifelong Academic Scholarship) and the purpose of the program is to focus on the most marginalized group of students in academia, the middle-achieving C-student.  Often these students are overlooked because attention is either focused on low-performing students or the high achievers in a classroom or school.  In this program, myself and 5 other mentors are with a group of 6 students and we act as mentors to help these students grow both in and out of school, build their resume, and put them in a position to not only get into a 4-year college but to graduate.  This mentorship will be happening over the course of the next year and ideally it will be an annual program for our 10th graders since they're in the very conditional phase of high school.  One component that the program will focus on building their leadership skills so they can catalyze change in their communities; to further cultivate their leadership, the program culminates in a three-week trip throughout Europe.  The goal is for the students to engage in projects while overseas and act as ambassadors for their communities and gather perspective to bring back with them; the trip is scheduled for next winter break (12/17/11-1/10/12).  Even though the agency we found is offering a remarkable rate (~$3,400 all inclusive/person) it's not a realistic amount for many of our students' families.  For all of our students, the total cost is a little more than $120, 000.  For the program, I've taken the helm at fundraising, so I plan to solicit sponsorships/donations from various companies and individuals. We're in the process of working something out so that donations can be tax-deductable, because I know that's a principle concern, typically. This long-winded blog is essentially to ask for help.  If anyone reading this feels inclined to seek more information on donating or help provide ideas, business cards, connections, please contact me at alain.bonny@gmail.com.  I am very-much aware that $120,000 is very daunting sum, but I had the opportunity to do something similar in high school (People to People) and I want to do everything possible to ensure my students have that same, life-changing, experience.  Most of my students have never left LA, much less the country, so any help would be much appreciated!  Take care as always.

Home sweet home

I made it home on Saturday, and despite the steady rain here and the illness I've been fighting (bronchitis or sinus infection, according to urgent care doc) for weeks, I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I walked in the door.  I'm finally free. Free and unemployed, that is.  And not so free after all.  I still find myself lying awaking at night wondering if I made the right decision, dreaming of teaching, wondering if my students will be okay when they return to school in January. But I still feel better than I have in months.  I'm finally getting enough sleep and have enough time to eat food that's not junk. I'm out a huge amount of money and time and energy... $210 for subject knowledge tests to get intern certificate $20 for study guides for those tests $60 for fingerprint card $20 for college transcripts $60 fee for intern teaching application $2000 to furnish a new apartment $4ooo for classes for a master's degree that I will only ever complete a quarter of $200 for books for those classes $1000 fee for breaking my apartment lease so that I could move back home Plus god-only-knows what other expenses, fees, etc. I have paid/owe Plus a whole final semester of college spent preparing, mentally and financially, to move to an unknown city and teach. Plus harassing phone calls from TFA once they found out that I planned to resign I'm relieved to be done, but those of you who are about to commit two years of your lives to TFA should know that it's not so easy to get out. -Sunny

The Great TFA Survey is Live. Please take it.

Ok, so I was only a few days late...that isn't bad, as far as arbitrary deadlines for this website go. The Great TFA Survey is now live and active, and you can find it here: PLEASE, pass this link along to other TFA people you know. Email it. Put it on your facebook. Put it on other people's facebook. Put it on your TeachFor.Us blog, your twitter, your graffiti, whatever. We have a few suspicions about how the data will play out, and we hope that we can use this to help support other people in the work, but we can only do it if we get a big result. If we reach our response goal, I'll start giving away some teacher swag. It is nearly Christmas after all. So if you are in TFA...or WERE in TFA, please tell us about your experience. We want to know about your Big Goals, your Program Director, what success felt like, your sleep schedule, and your general quality of life along our Relentless Pursuit of Acronyms. , I'll publish the data as soon as we can make some sense out of it, and after enough people have taken it. We're looking at late Jan, early Feb. Have a great Holiday Season, and a great Winter Break. I'm sure all you guys deserve it. -Matt

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