Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › Self & Identity

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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May 10 2012


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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Nov 30 2011

Talking the talk

I’ve tried just telling myself to stop being a baby and Just Do It and I’ve tried hating myself and I’ve tried making ridiculous minute-to-minute schedules and I’ve tried just going by to-do lists and gently coaxing myself with kind self-talk and I JUST. NEVER. GET THERE. I’m not depressed anymore and my kids kind…

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Nov 29 2011

Me and/or TFA

Reflecting on who and what I am, evaluating myself, is one of my favorite pastimes—my other favorite is doing the same thing about TFA (Fellow Kool-aid Drinkers take note: This means I’ve learned how to tell the difference!)

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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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Aug 02 2011

It’s About That Time

I feel so bitterly conflicted. It’s goal time. It’s vision time. Now is the time to be naming that Big Hairy Audacious one, taming her, donning her, checking yourself out in the mirror a couple times, and then heading out. This is the time of year when hundreds of brand new not-teachers-yet ask themselves how…

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May 21 2011


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 10 2011

Two or Three Biggest Lessons

Teach For America: “What are the two or three biggest lessons you’re taking away from your corps experience? These could be lessons about your students, yourself, the community where you work, the achievement gap (its causes, the most promising solutions, etc.), our schools and school system, education policy, Teach For America-specific lessons, or anything else–we’re…

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May 06 2011

Ghosts of Myself

Every once in a while, I look at pieces of my everyday life and have to do a double-take. It might happen while I’m looking in my closet at the clothes I bought in Houston during Institute, or when I smell a bit of summer coming back, or when I’m running the same old route…

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May 01 2011


Wendy Kopp is coming to San Antonio tomorrow. I was thumbing through the beginning of A Chance to Make History this morning and reading through the examples of stellar corps members, taking note of (and appreciating) the three examples of secondary CMs given right at the beginning of the first chapter. Since I started teaching,…

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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 14 2011

2011-2012 Starts Tomorrow.

It has actually already started. Tonight, there are 2011 San Antonio TFA corps members in town, to take their (first round of) certification tests (They’re badass, baller, and super-flexible, and they’ll take multiple tests so they can be ready to teach whatever our district needs them to teach). I’m going to meet them tomorrow. Is…

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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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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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Each, of course, followed by the obligatory “AAAAPRIL FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLSS!!!” and class-wide “BAAAHAhahaaa!!”: 5. “I’m going to do all my work today.” 4. “I love  math.” 3. “Miss, you are SUCH a good teacher! You’re like the best teacher at this school!” 2. “Miss, you’re pretty.” 1. “Miss, you DON’T look like Snoop’s Mama.” … sigh.…

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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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Mar 19 2011

Then and Now

There was a time, not so long ago, when Teach For America was just a bookmark in Firefox and a non-profit I thought was too good to be true. While I certainly am the same person I was then (it was only two years ago), there are a couple things I’ve been noticing lately that…

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Mar 17 2011

Institute Time Capsule

I’m sitting in the West servery at Rice University—in the same spot I sat so many long, single-minded Institute afternoons. I’m watching college kids walk by in sweat pants with their breakfasts. Smelling the smell of this place makes my heart feel funny. This summer was such an experience, and my life since then has…

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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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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 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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I can say it aloud now: things are getting better. Partly because of this, and partly because of meeting, matriculating, and constantly thinking about 2011 corps members (Hi!), I’ve finally been able to work out a clear way to express why I’m here. The Question is asked in a number of slightly different, very interesting ways:…

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It’s so important to be living and working for a purpose. This is hard, hard work. But it’s all for a REASON, which is just what I was missing. The reason I’m here is because in my last year of college, my eyes were opened to so many of the ways our world is SO…

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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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Oct 10 2010

Where I’m From

I am from Takis and TAKS and talking in class. I am from once-threatening ivy, heavy footsteps above my closet, and a mailbox that smells like cockroaches. I am from Tacos and Pep Rallies… in the morning. I am from counting our successes, long hugs in doorways, from Ms. Hargis and Magnolias. I am from…

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