Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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May 14 2011

Climate Change

Looking at the next three weeks… and given the last two weeks… I just can’t help but write about the love I feel for my creatures. A huge, huge part of me learning to teach them well was learning them. I didn’t realize this until recently—when I ended some days looking back on how I…

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… and I LOVED every second of it! It’s Monday morning and I missed the early bus because I slept through my alarm–but I love teaching, stayed up late to do it well, wrote nine pages of certification papers before that, put Pokemon on my worksheets, and life is generally beautiful. (also, I wore two different…

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Apr 09 2011

Three stories about bribing kids

On Tuesday, I gave my fake ESL kid a King Size Reese’s and a pack of fruity Trident gum (I was really proud I knew it was his favorite) because he did such great work the day before. I’m almost afraid to say it—but I think he really is making a turnaround. (And guess what?…

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Feb 23 2011

Dear Brat:

I am so impressed with you today. This morning started out rocky in tutoring, but even though you came late, yelled at me, and told me I was explaining everything wrong and that’s why you were NEVER  going to understand it, I could tell you were getting it. You tried so hard to leave, but…

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Feb 07 2011


From the beginning of  the school year, Toothpik and my Fake ESL kid have been this blog’s examples of kids who don’t do anythingposter-children for the apathy that makes me grind my teeth at night. They’re the ones who leave class with nothing more or less than when they came in–handouts left untouched on the…

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Feb 03 2011

Three Quick Stories

#1: I can see my breath outside, but no one believes in insulation in Texas, apparently. It’s so cold in my apartment that this morning, rather than brave the cold for three more seconds to grab underwear from my drawer, I got dressed in my steamy bathroom and went without. #2: I’m pretty sure that, when…

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I think I’ll let my two daily jot-it-down-after-school lists speak for themselves this fine Tuesday evening: Positives: – Reached almost all the parents I called – Saw my lovely PD at lunch, and totally went in to the afternoon feeling like a TAL teacher. – Very excited about DDM interview – Did lots of things…

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Jan 23 2011

The Pull

Something big has happened. I said the words “I love teaching.” They just kind of came out of me.  I typed them in an email, actually. And while I’ve tried these words out in my head a couple of times over the past few weeks, they have (until yesterday) been less appropriate than “I’m happy”…

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Jan 13 2011

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Looking Back: Semester one: Done! I realized today that OPERATION: INSTITUTE officially ends today along with the second nine-week grading period. In reflection, though many of the specific items that were originally part of the endeavor never happened, I think the objective at the soul of the effort was met. Tier 1, Routine, has definitely…

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Jan 08 2011

Week 17

My mastery tracker has five yellow boxes and one GREEN box in the sea of orange. I have a checklist to complete every weekday after school, and a tracker on the fridge to see what percentage of the tasks I complete every night. I have a student who admitted to learning something yesterday. I have…

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Jan 04 2011

Making It Happen

I can’t even begin to figure out a way to tie this post together or make it interesting or profound, and so I’ve been putting off posting it. But I can’t leave it too long, or this blog wouldn’t be the honest chronicle I want it to be. So at the risk of not quite…

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Nov 14 2010

Just make it to November 11th.

On the way to school: I dreamed I was in a meeting with my administrators and found out I was to be “terminated.” Wishful thinking? Paranoia? Your guess is as good as mine. First period: Revolt. My wise young lesbian interrupts me in the middle of a crappy lesson on no-one-knows-what to address the class:…

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Oct 15 2010

I’ll have you know

“Miss, I’ll have you know I learned something in this class, because I did not know how to do this last year.” … and I know she wasn’t just being nice, either, because I was “getting on her nerves” for all but those 6 seconds. !!! One kid. One kid learned one thing–THANK YOU!! Finally!…

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Oct 12 2010

Who I Am

Here’s the thing: I don’t want regrets. A year ago, the hardest thing I’d ever done was a summer rowing training program with LUC in Seattle. Somehow, I got in with the elites, and I had a coach who was pushing me harder than I ever thought someone outside my own head could push. I was…

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Sep 30 2010

September the Last

Tomorrow is October. OCTOBER already. I’ve been living the same impossible week over and over and over again, and I just don’t see how it’s not still August 30. Time is passing. As I still struggle to get myself to work every morning and through every day, the clock is ticking and the achievement gap…

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Sep 26 2010

This is my life.

Hello. This is my life. Firstly, this is just two years of my life. I will continue to exist and continue to be my passionate, critical-thinking, problem-solving, proactive, goofy self after I’m done teaching, whether or not I make significant gains. Secondly, this is NOT just two years of my life!! This achievement gap is…

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Sep 18 2010

Concave Up

The night before the first day of school, I would describe myself as both insanely nervous and foolishly confident. I was unprepared, and I knew it. And I don’t just mean “unprepared” in the usual Institute-was-so-different-I-had-no-idea-it-was-this-hard kind of way. There was a little additional I-never-wrote-a-management-plan-or-a-unit-plan-or-even-a-first-day-lesson-plan (until Sunday night) going on, as well (for which I have…

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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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