Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › Low Points

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 04 2011

Droop it like it’s hot

You know those Saturdays when you wake up later than you want to, vaguely intend to do something during the day, but end up wasting it all doing something pointless? When you feel sort of justified because it’s a Saturday, but you mostly feel guilty because of all the time you could have spent doing…

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Apr 18 2011


Ohh, friends… I had the first bad day I’ve had for a really long time. Which is a good thing, I guess. But yeesh. I do NOT miss this feeling. Lost things: I lost my humongous Bag O’ Crucial Things (i.e. school laptop, compiled student work samples for certification portfolio, camera, video camera, purse, school…

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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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Dec 07 2010

Out of the mouths of babes

15-minute write: 1) What is your favorite thing about this class? 2) What is your LEAST favorite thing about this class? 3) If you could do one thing to change this class, what would you do? When I walk into this class I grab my work go to my seat put my back pack down…

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Dec 03 2010


I am very lucky to have the principal and the administration I have (that’s sooo odd to say, after complaining about them for months). While I’ve officially decided that I really don’t care what they think of me as a teacher; as much as they fail in follow-through and are forced to operate in a…

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Dec 01 2010

Blind Leading the Blind

I literally feel this job gripping me behind my sternum. For forty minutes or so after I’m done teaching, even if I’m not really mulling on anything, I feel this dull, sick weight that doesn’t sigh off. Maybe I’m just tired.       So you’d think I’d try harder to get more sleep. That’s just the…

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Dec 01 2010

Disillusionment for December

… So last night’s moment of peace somehow turned into probably the worst night of sleep I’ve ever had. Lack of exercise means my back hurts no matter what position I decide to try to fall asleep in–and the “soothing” wind turned into gales that slammed the screen door downstairs into the house at intervals…

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Oct 27 2010

Dear Student:

 I have to say before I say anything else that I really, really do know you can do this. I know that if you were only given the chance, you could go for it and you would. You think you’re stupid, you think it’s your fault, you think you’re just not made for school. You…

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Oct 22 2010

Week 9 // Don’t be Stupid

Sunday night: feel calm and confident about the weekend’s productivity and the upcoming week. Feel out of the rut, like things are different somehow. Monday night: come home from CM discussion meeting inexplicably sad. Tuesday night: come home from working at TFA office and fall asleep in roommate’s bed at 8pm, cry on the phone…

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Oct 05 2010

Just for the record

I hate this. I say so plainly, literally, with the least emotion possible and with no reaction-gauging or attention-seeking. Simply put, there are some things that I detest, and one of those things is my current existence. I don’t want to do what I’m doing. I don’t want to teach high school, I don’t want to…

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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 28 2010

“Ah, miss, why you cryin’?”

“Ah, miss, why you cryin’?”   That’s my bass drummer. “Miss, you not crying because the sub, are you?” I’m not sure what that means. But the intercom was just beeping in at that point. “Did someone buzz from this room?” And my mentor teacher: “Yes, we need a substitute as soon as possible in room 407.”…

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Sep 20 2010

The Magic of Disney

Disney songs have always, always had a very special place in my heart. But I’ve never needed them like I need them now. I’m not sure if I’m a) forgetting how to deal with stress, b) developing an anxiety disorder, c) just not used to this kind of stress, or d) all of the above—but whether…

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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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Sep 09 2010

Balance This

So maybe I pulled all-nighters at Institute. Maybe I consistently spent eight hours a night working on one-hour lessons. Maybe I’m that slow-working obsessive-compulsive perfectionist who you never saw because I was, quite literally, working all the time. But at Institute, my lessons were aligned. They were thoughtful. They were structured. They had lots of built-in,…

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1st period was okay, I think. It may have been good, even; I don’t remember. 3rd period is usually really fun, and today they were just crazy and non-responsive and I went all angry-teacher on them, which didn’t work, of course. And then 5th period was the same (because it’s comprised basically of everyone in…

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Aug 27 2010


… is the way I would describe my first week. I’m not teaching the way I did at Institute, and I was no rock-star there, either. I’m not prepared–ever. I’m doing everything that pisses me off about teachers: making copies at 8:30 am, planning activity-driven lessons on the way to school, stretching out the warm-up…

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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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