Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › Honesty

I’ve done a fair bit of reading about racism, but until now the only connection to education has been that I occasionally post things here about what I read. Recently though, I read bell hooks’ “Teaching Community: A Pedogogy of Hope” (which was admittedly mostly about undergraduate and graduate students) and started Lisa Delpit’s “Other…

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Jan 21 2013

People Like Me Exist

My initial reaction to everything TFA was “it’s too good to be true.” Throughout the application process, induction, and institute, I remember consciously keeping an eye out for weaknesses in this organization that seemed to be such a perfect example of how to do a nonprofit right. Part of my incredulity came from the fact…

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Jan 14 2013

A Thing That Happened

Part of my new job is subbing every once in a while for the teachers of our after-school program, and today for the first time I subbed at a K-8 school on the side of town where I taught. I felt a filling bit of belonging, interacting with kids who could have been my students’…

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Jul 09 2012

Practicing what I Preach

I’ve had a lot of opportunity to think about honesty lately, and to wonder why I’m so obsessed with it as of late.   I was reminded today of something I knew once and ignored: that it’s too easy to anthropomorphize Teach For America to get out of criticizing a real person or people. “TFA”…

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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 10 2012

Space

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 21 2011

White

White privilege. White anti-racist. White ally. White … hypocrisy. I feel uncomfortable, and as complainy and self-centered as this post is, I promise I’m glad of my discomfort. It’s not that I’m guilty for my whiteness—I don’t think. I think I feel… just pushed. I feel a healthy dose of fear and shame, I think.…

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May 16 2011

My Chance

My kid they call Dirty has been refusing to do any work for the past week or so, and I’ve been absolutely at a loss (as usual). I wrote him up one day for it, thinking maybe he just needed someone to coerce him into doing what’s best for himself… but it didn’t feel right…

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Apr 19 2011

The Second-Year Teacher Act

So. My plan to Make It Happen wasn’t exactly the raving success I wanted it to be. I may have swung a little more toward the “play” side of the work-play spectrum than would have been necessary to make the changes I wanted to make. Maybe I was over-compensating since I finally found the ability…

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I’ve been thinking about the above question for probably about a month now (aside from all the thinking on it I’ve been doing for the past year—I mean, it was even one of the questions for my personal statement, right?), and I really haven’t hit upon anything satisfactory. But in the process, I have come across a…

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There are 14 teaching days left until testing, and I’m feeling a little queasy about fear and student achievement. From day one, I’ve genuinely wanted my students to do really well, and genuinely believed they can. But crunch time forces us to face reality, and the reality is: as good as my intentions have been,…

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Mar 26 2011

Pre-Sophomore Teacher

Yesterday, I made a shift. If you know high school freshmen, you know that there’s some point close to the end of the year when they stop being freshmen per se and become… “pre-sophomores.” (likewise, there’s a point closer to the beginning when they actually become high-school students instead of eighth-graders plopped into a high…

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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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