Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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I want to teach a math class with no numbers, no calculators, and no pencils or paper. 

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Oct 18 2011


In the midst of many things going generally alright, I’m really struggling with the percentage of my kids whose average is below 70%. I know there are a gazillion teachers out there who have struggled with the conflicting forces of high expectations and keeping your failure rate at an administration-friendly level… what do you do?…

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Oct 11 2011

I don’t know enough math.

One frustrating thing about our district’s curriculum is that it’s wholly composed of an online program that has a lot of depth and make some pretty relevant connections, but is really hard to plan lessons around that don’t involve kids staring at a screen for an hour taking notes. Another thing that makes it hard…

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Oct 10 2011

Climbing in the polls

My principal is very quickly climbing in the polls inside my head. He’s been such a do-er this year, which I really admire, and his “moments of greatness” are becoming more and more frequent. Maybe “do-er” is what others would call “impulsive,” but I’m a fan. Today he suddenly decided, per the math department’s failure…

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Oct 03 2011

Miley Cyrus Days

You know those days? … when nothing in particular is going wrong, but you just feel heavy? When you have every reason to be optimistic, but you can’t quite get there? … when dreams that were within reach yesterday now seem impossible? TFA sent out its survey not too long ago, and asked us all…

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Technically it’s the morning of the SAT, but who’s counting? … Hopefully not my kids, because of course they’re all sound asleep (cross your fingers). – I have a whole bunch of my students from last year, but I don’t have my Brat. But I see her in the halls, and she pops in every…

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It’s been October for a full hour now, so I’m hereby fulfilling my promise of re-posting my pitiful little saga. I wrote this in February of this year, and while I felt “through it” then,  I can’t even describe to you how much MORE “through it” I feel now. This goes out to anyone who’s…

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Sep 21 2011

“You have a lot to do”

My Shell made a really heavily truthful comment to me yesterday. I, like the silly novice teacher I am, was lecturing the class because a student had said something about not trying on our last test. She said, “Miss, you gotta understand. All four years of high school. Our freshman year, we didn’t even have…

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My school was NUMBER ONE in attendance out of all traditional high schools in the district for the first four weeks. NUMBER ONE!! We’ve always, always been last, or tied for last, or second-to-last. (if this had happened a year ago, I’d probably have attributed this, wide-eyed, to Teach For America’s presence. Which would have…

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My classroom clock is stuck on 12 noon (and 15 seconds). If it read the real time, I might have the chance to be upset that I’m just sitting down to start working at 8:36pm–but I’m going to pretend that I’m stuck in time too and steal this moment to reflect. Tonight was my second…

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Sep 07 2011

Leaving School at 9pm

… 9:15, actually, and loving it! Minus the backache, knee-ache, and foot-ache. Today was one of those days where technically you’re doing work, but you’re not doing anything that takes too much thought or has any roadblocks, so you stay fresh mentally. No Teaching Headache today. Love it. I wish this had been a long…

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Sep 04 2011

Know thy content

I’m pretty good at remembering the math I learned in high school and college, and pretty good even at remembering how my teachers explained it to me or how it was that I formed the understandings that I did. Sure, I might need a refresher here and there on specifics, but usually takes no more…

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Sep 02 2011


Whole Brain Teaching or no, it still sucks when you put off planning your lesson to morning and then oversleep. … or maybe this feeling has more to do with my poor 2nd period. My babies are poisoned and I just want to heal them magically and make them know they can do this. I…

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Aug 25 2011

Cool It

Whew! Whole Brain Teaching is the best thing that ever happened to my classroom. But I tell you what, I am most definitely still just a second-year teacher. It shouldn’t really be so surprising that so much depends on the particular personalities that happen to be in your class. Of my six classes, four of…

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Aug 23 2011

Day 1B

My juniors this morning were a lot harder to sell than any of my students yesterday. It was first (second) period, and I was a bit distracted. Thank heavens I’d had all of yesterday to back me up, which meant I was able to hold them to the level of yesterday’s classes even when half…

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I’m having a hard time not doing cartwheels down the hallway right now. I don’t know what order to spew all of this in; I don’t even know all of the things I have to say. I’m REELING from the success of whole brain teaching in my classroom today. They LOVED it. They were smiling…

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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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