The MEGnitude of Change

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 13 2013

This post will change your life.

THIS BLOG POST WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Really. This relevation is earth-shattering, so be prepared. Take a breath. Get ready to have your perspective shifted forever.

It all starts with a little something I like to call “megossip.” What is this term, you may ask? As defined by the Bainbridge-Ward Dictionary*, “megossip” is “(n.) information gathered by Meg about people she knows and her attempt to analyze it in order to help people she cares about.” In other words, my habit of meddling in other people’s business–but with good intentions for all parties.

As I have become more adept at dabbling in other people’s business, I have come to an earth-shattering realization. Every piece of advice I have offered — about friendships, saving moeny, dating, and more – can be traced back to effective classroom management techniques. And every piece of advice I’ve offered should undoubtedly be applied to my own life. I know what you’re thinking, “But Meg, are you telling me that I need to tell my boyfriend that he’s on his second warning, and if he picks me up late one more time, he’s getting a phone call home?!” No, not exactly, although that could be a good threat if his mother is a terrifying force of nature. Here’s more what I’m thinking…

Establishing clear expectations: Growing up, I had a terrible habit of feeling perpetually frustrated with my brothers. They wouldn’t ask me how my week was going or wouldn’t come to an event at school, and clearly, that meant they didn’t care about me. …but here’s the thing. I never offered information about my week, and I never asked them to come to events. I didn’t set clear expectations — how could they rise to standards that they didn’t know existed? Slowly, I’m trying to clearly communicate what I wish they would do, so that they can worry less about reading my mind & more about being my brothers.

Tracking progress: I have been trying to save money throughout this year, but I consistently fail to effectively put aside my cash. Only recently have I had the foresight to set tangible goals — and to set a reason for savings. Rather than “trying to save money,” I am now saving $2,000 for a volunteer trip to Morocco during winter break next year. I have determined a budget to help me reach that goal, with some wiggle room. And I feel so much more potential for success.

Positive behavior management: “I’m so happy that you called.” “Thanks for taking out the trash.” “I’m glad that I got to spend time with you this weekend.” Who doesn’t like hearing little, positive words of encouragement? While we may practice this technique in the classroom, it’s easy to forget in our own lives — to be frank, especially when it comes to dating. All too often, we get caught up in our desire to protect ourselves & forget to reinforce the positive behaviors of people we’re interested in. Really, we can all use a little love sometimes — our students and our friends alike.

The act of teaching is also a perpetual act of learning — re-evaluating which practices to implement in our classrooms, but also applying some of these practices to our relationships in general. Thank you, first year of teaching, for giving me a framework to be a more effective person in general.

*The Bainbridge-Ward Dictionary, also known as the opinion of two of my best friends in TFA.

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My journey in mathematics and beyond

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