Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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May 10 2013

A Person, Living, in a Place

FINE, I guess I’ll have my fourth root beer float in two days. If I must. And while I drink it, I’ll think about how crazy it is that I’m actually, seriously considering teaching next year. How weird it is to realize that might be what I want to do. So weird, in fact, that…

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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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Jul 03 2012

Today, I’m tired of Messy.

For the last two years, it seems, I’ve been unable to think clearly unless I’m typing. If you don’t want to read my disillusioned processing, please don’t.   Actually, sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t just make my blog posts private until I figure these last two years out. (And stop talking, too, ha.) Everything…

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Jun 22 2012

I’m not jaded.

I realized my blog is starting to be peppered with this rhetoric of the “broken TFA alum” who had a hard two years—disillusioned, jaded, broken, cynical, and sad. Truth: I’m not that. This took some realizing, though. It took me a minute to realize that the fact that I didn’t come out the ass-end of…

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• I’m happy to not be lesson planning. The thought jerked me awake about a week ago as I was drifting off to sleep: “What if I never write another lesson plan again?” • I’m glad to have loads of time to spend on myself—chew over possible career choices, take the Clifton StrengthsFinder (Positivity, Learner,…

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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 15 2012


It’s blog season. New blogs and new bloggers popping up everywhere make me a little excited and a little… frustrated. I love the newness, love the enthusiasm, love the optimistic anticipation. Of course. But reading First Posts is a little uncomfortable for me, because I can remember so well when I felt the same way…

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Nov 26 2011


I often find myself talking about my ‘lack of direction’–but without fail, upon reflection, I remember that the problem is that I feel compelled to go in too MANY directions. These are the things that make me go. Someone show me how to live a life that changes the world and involves some satisfactory combination…

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Nov 16 2011

Yellow Brick Road

Don’t know if I’ve said this here yet, but I’m officially staying a third year at my school.

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Jul 28 2011

Switching Gears

I’m sitting in the San Antonio TFA office listening to Percy Grainger and trying to transition from the big picture to the little picture. July has been a wonderful month for putting myself to use. I officially have only $275 left to raise (https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1ErC1gAsr3BAfTpVH-lPezZZp4XltgSSlkeTaOX1l50Q), almost every 2011 CM in our corps is paired with a 2010…

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Jun 18 2011

I had a dream about Wendy Kopp.

I think it was triggered by a woman I saw in Border’s yesterday (I literally did a double-take because her tall face, brown makeup and purple lipstick looked so much like WK’s). She was giving a huge talk to all the 2010 CMs in the nation, heading into their second year (It was somewhat like…

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Apr 24 2011

But for the Forest

I really like the act of teaching. I love the call to analyze, improve, learn something, and improve faster. I love (and hate) that my to-do list is always bigger than me and I’ll never grow out of it. I love being the leader, the center of attention, the decision-maker. I love feeling a little…

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Apr 18 2011


I cry when I hold babies. Not every time–probably less than a quarter of the time–but enough to say babies make me cry. This tends to worry people (often new mothers, unfortunately), especially since I’ve never been able to place that feeling or accurately describe what it is that overwhelms me so much. I know…

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Apr 16 2011


Someone once told me that 44% of TFA men end up marrying TFA women. It seems like an absurd number, and I feel silly even letting myself wonder if it’s true. Who would have that information, anyway? I doubt “are you currently married/engaged to be married to a TFA alumnus?” is a question on any…

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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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Dec 16 2010

I want to study TFA.

I don’t know anything about the data out there that looks at corps member effectiveness, but because I’ve seen so little of it, my gut says that it’s pretty sparse. Why? TFA seems like a pretty hot topic. Only 20 years old, maybe, but controversial and growing fast. Where’s the robust body of research to…

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Days like this make me wonder whether there’s not something else I could be doing that would be more effective and less like martyrdom. Wouldn’t I have a bigger, better effect on kids if I were a functional human being? Can’t we, as Teach For America, do anything else to make the first year easier?…

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