Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jun 07 2012

Interested in your opinion

Facebook has been my best friend lately, as I’ve begun to use it less as a procrastination tool and more as a way to let my friends know what I’m reading and what I think about it. It’s been amazing to develop my digital personality into an outspoken advocate, even when in real life I’m…

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• I’m happy to not be lesson planning. The thought jerked me awake about a week ago as I was drifting off to sleep: “What if I never write another lesson plan again?” • I’m glad to have loads of time to spend on myself—chew over possible career choices, take the Clifton StrengthsFinder (Positivity, Learner,…

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May 17 2012

No Clearer Mirror

On Wednesday, May 2nd, someone very important to me mentioned that I hate my job casually in conversation, as if this was a known and well-established piece of knowledge between us. I stopped her: “… Wait. I hate my job?” While I try not to make a habit of defining my reality based on what my…

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May 15 2012


It’s blog season. New blogs and new bloggers popping up everywhere make me a little excited and a little… frustrated. I love the newness, love the enthusiasm, love the optimistic anticipation. Of course. But reading First Posts is a little uncomfortable for me, because I can remember so well when I felt the same way…

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May 10 2012


I guess I should feel stressed and anxious. But instead of gnawing on obsessions and replaying scenarios, my mind is skipping ahead, buzzing with ideas and opportunities for next year. Just as I was a little more than two years ago, I’m asking “What should I do next year? What kind of splash should I…

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May 08 2012


I’m in this crazy land of leisure and not-knowing. Will I be able to continue my grad program if I’m not teaching next year? How long does a period of administrative leave usually last before a decision is made? Theoretically, how hard would it be to get a job if one were to get fired…

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May 07 2012

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10.

I’ve been on administrative leave for the past four school days. My room is clean, my dishes are done, I have a tan (read: sunburn), I’ve run all the errands I can possibly think of. I’ve biked about thirty miles. I even vacuumed my bed. If I weren’t more interested in preserving what little anonymity…

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Apr 16 2012

Just close your eyes and GO

In college, I used to keep a running to-do list with me at all times, with literally everything I needed to  do. Laundry, calling home, and friends’ birthday presents went on the list along with the usual email reminders and coursework. For some reason, as disorganized and catch-all as it sounds, it was the best…

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Apr 13 2012


I HATE hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate haaaate giving grades.

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Apr 10 2012

Am I Wrong For Teaching?

I had an hour-long discussion about this post tonight, with 8 other corps members, two teachers from KIPP, a TFA staff member, and the special ed executive director for our district. Among the many reactions as to whether competition for teachers is a good thing or a bad thing, a strong voice stuck with me,…

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Trayvon Martin is all my kids have talked about for the past month. And with good reason. And with really amazing depth and intuition. My kids know everything. All of it. All the facts and allegations, all the conclusions both specific and societal, all the causes of this and thousands of other events just like…

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Apr 04 2012

Behind every bully is a sad story

The day we returned from spring break, my juniors and I had a Class Meeting. We sat in a circle and I forced them to tell me their thoughts on TAKS, our class, whether they thought we were headed in the right direction, and what we could all do to get where we all want…

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Apr 04 2012

Diplomas Now

My students from last year tend to pop into my classroom at random times throughout the day, and in ushering them out, sometimes I get a chance to grab a word. This day, it was my Muted Linebacker, a student who never particularly liked me but never really hated me. He’s the type who laughs…

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Apr 04 2012


I like doing math. I love doing math! I love the feeling when you know you’re riiight on the brink of figuring out how you’re going to go about solving a tough problem. I love when you can do a page of work, box your answer, and answer someone when they ask “ok but where…

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Mar 22 2012

Patience Like Tin Foil

I can’t give you problems basic enough. There is no question leading enough. “Doing Math” to you means you saying “I don’t get this” and me telling you the answers. You see math and everything it entails as a huge changing frictionless landscape with nothing to hang onto, and I can’t destroy enough of that…

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Mar 19 2012

Uncle Sam Needs YOU

Today we talked about correlation vs. causation. The goal was to differentiate between different types of relationships, to see past mere relatedness and get to whether causal statements are grounded or not. Very cool. One of the examples we looked at was the fact that in most hospitals, there is a positive relationship between the…

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Mar 07 2012

Writing about Not Writing

It’s been too long since I had the uncontrollable urge to blog. I don’t like it. It’s not as if there’s nothing going on. I could have written last week, for instance, about College Night and how we had a really good turnout but how it really wasn’t very good otherwise. That thing has been…

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I ran the ol’ Induction Route tonight, and found it less automatic than usual to put myself into the ol’ Induction Mindset. Those of you who’ve been reading for that long know it’s probably a good thing that I’m gaining some distance from those patterns of thought. It still makes me a bit nervous, though,…

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Feb 24 2012

Running on Empty Fills Me Up

Whew. I have a to-do list like a bucket with a leak in it, and a classroom like a game of whack-a-mole. I’m a grad student suddenly immersed in a hyper-speed introduction to things like ANOVA, MANCOVA, 42 U.P.C Section 1983 and San Antonio v. Rodriguez. I’m presenting research proposals to my classmates and and Positive Behavior…

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Last year, the failures were truth and i saw the “small successes” as just weak cop-out justifications. This year, I’ve learned the language of my students and this profession enough to listen to insults and feel for the smoky forms of people-change underneath. Today was the first day of the new semester–thus, the day reality…

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… annnnnd, we’re up again. I’m sitting in my living room with a cup of very hot cocoa, a blasting heater, and a cat on my feet. My laptop is warming my lap, and my to-do list is warming the arm of the (free) mauve recliner I’m sitting in (P.S. in case I haven’t told…

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Sometimes I need to be a real writer. Journaling is honest, but it speaks to no one who’s alive yet; blogging is so nice because there’s so much affirmation. But all of my writing is just pages and pages of me wondering aloud whether I’m not just writing to repeat and make true the thoughts…

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Jan 10 2012

Let me rephrase:

Let me rephrase: I know my kids expect to pass doing nothing because they’ve always been allowed to, even sometimes by me. I know they are pissy because I haven’t been good enough at explaining where my expectations come from and why. It’s absolutely my job to convince them what they do is important and…

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Sigh. I dont know if I can do this for a third year. I woke up this morning with such a surge of energy and then my classes were shitty yet again, which I can’t complain about because I knew they were boring bad lessons, because I felt like a person this weekend. It’s only…

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Jan 08 2012

I would have blocked you, too

I was sad I couldn’t comment on your doozy of a first post! Can’t wait to read more (that sounds sarcastic, but it’s not. Welcome). So first let me say that THIS is sole reason I can’t quiiite get on board with DR and her crowd: @DianeRavitch: @TomBurr When you start teaching, let me know how you feel…

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“The minute you think of giving up, think of the reason you held on so long.” - John Maxwell


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