Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Remember to love what you do. Your students will learn more if you’re fulfilled by teaching them than if you’re meticulous and thorough but not happy.

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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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May 12 2011


Ugh. I’ve been writing a post in my head for the last couple of days about my wonderful kids are and how I’m realizing more and more every day that they can do absolutely anything, and that they want to. My DJ started staying in my class for 5th period (she’s in 3rd period) to…

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Apr 21 2011

Delicious Cold Turkey

I know that my Brat and I, on average, are on better terms than we were in the fall. I know she does more work than she used to and leaves class less often. And I know I’ve gotten a lot better at not triggering her. But I was talking today with a woman who…

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… you go to bed feeling like poop, and wake up like it’s a brand new day or something. That’s what mornings are supposed to do–make you feel fresh and new and optimistic and ready to take on 24 more hours–regardless of how you felt the day before. This is how I know I’m myself again.

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Apr 12 2011

Back to Narcolepsy

Partly because of a newfound social life and partly because of a newfound motivation and inspiration for creating good lessons (and partly because of tests approaching and partly because of procrastination on certification requirements), I’ve slept less during these past two weeks than I have during any period since … Institute, probably. On one hand,…

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Apr 08 2011


It’s crazy how this job teaches you the SAME things—over and over and over—but more effectively every time. If it were possible to organize all of these lessons and digest them in a logical sequence and at a sensible pace, I wouldn’t have to repeat so many of the lessons I learn. But I’m here…

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Apr 04 2011


Three important things: Today, my Fake ESL kid copied the notes AND did the examples and checks AND plotted points. I didn’t get nearly excited enough at the time, so I’m bringing him a candy bar tomorrow. I’ve decided that even if none of my other kids pass, I’ll be happy if I can just…

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I’ve been wanting to write about TFA and mental health for a while, and have recently had the opportunity to voice the somewhat muddled feelings I have on the subject. I know many of you are starry-eyed and brand new, so this may be inappropriate so soon after you’ve clicked “accept”– but if that’s the…

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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 05 2011

Songs for your first semester

The Grooveshark playlist that got me and my roommate through weeknights lesson-planning in and out of tears at our kitchen table: 1. Yes We Can (Will I Am) 2. One Day (Matsiyahu) 3. Never Alone (Lady Antebellum) 4. Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey) 5. Keep on Runnin’ (Journey) 6. I Can Go the Distance (Disney–Hercules) 7.…

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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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This is something my beloved CS said at least once a day at Institute. With mastery at 44% and my school demanding a list of “kids who count” (their term, not mine–i.e. kids who are within range of passing the TAKS), it couldn’t be clearer that my re-awakening has come just in time. I can…

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


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