Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › SoPo

Jan 11 2013

Not Dead Yet

Yup, still kicking.   What I’m up to and how it’s going: I’m working as a supervisor for an after-school program in my very same district. It’s an amazing job that I love. It’s SUPER easy, but I’m still learning things about how to motivate people and help them help kids. Plus, I’m working with…

read more »
Oct 03 2011

Miley Cyrus Days

You know those days? … when nothing in particular is going wrong, but you just feel heavy? When you have every reason to be optimistic, but you can’t quite get there? … when dreams that were within reach yesterday now seem impossible? TFA sent out its survey not too long ago, and asked us all…

read more »
Sep 21 2011

“You have a lot to do”

My Shell made a really heavily truthful comment to me yesterday. I, like the silly novice teacher I am, was lecturing the class because a student had said something about not trying on our last test. She said, “Miss, you gotta understand. All four years of high school. Our freshman year, we didn’t even have…

read more »

I’m having a hard time not doing cartwheels down the hallway right now. I don’t know what order to spew all of this in; I don’t even know all of the things I have to say. I’m REELING from the success of whole brain teaching in my classroom today. They LOVED it. They were smiling…

read more »
Aug 16 2011


Oh, honey.  Ohhhh, honayyy. Reading posts by first-year teachers is even harder than I thought it would be. I’m feeling a little sick to my stomach just from following the few who have started already–not because of anything in particular, but because of how their words back that suspended-reality, too-anxious-to-feel-anything reality of a year ago.…

read more »

Here’s what I’m thinking: We know the frustration and inefficacy of “re-inventing the wheel,” and we’re such fans of the “beg, borrow and steal” method. We’re also on the search for a model of a transformational school or transformational teaching that is sustainable and scalable—one that we can point to, see exactly what was done…

read more »
Aug 03 2011

Mirror Pic

I am… … teaching upper-level math! … SO happy to finally know what I’m teaching this year. … shocked that I’ll be teaching juniors and seniors. … sad for the other teachers who really wanted to teach upperclassmen… … nervous to be in charge of students who, in some cases, are two years younger than…

read more »
Apr 26 2011

The Real Pre-Sophomores

I’ve always been told that the sophomores at my school are the ‘problem children.’ The faculty tells me they’re the rowdiest, rudest, most boldly disrespectful… but I barely interact with any non-sophomores, so I have nothing to compare them to. Also, I worry that the few instances that do confirm that generalization only do so…

read more »
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…

read more »

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…

read more »
Feb 23 2011

Dear Brat:

I am so impressed with you today. This morning started out rocky in tutoring, but even though you came late, yelled at me, and told me I was explaining everything wrong and that’s why you were NEVER  going to understand it, I could tell you were getting it. You tried so hard to leave, but…

read more »
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…

read more »
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.…

read more »

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…

read more »
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”…

read more »

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…

read more »
Dec 15 2010

Posting the Positives

One day, this blog will be full of exclamation points and happy stories about good teaching and respectful children, signaling its author’s total-180-teacher-transformation from incompetence to Best Practices Queen. Until that day comes, however, you’ll have to be satisfied with only sporadic attempts at a balanced perspective—even if it’s only in the hopes that I’m…

read more »

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:…

read more »
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:…

read more »
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…

read more »
Oct 15 2010

I’ll have you know

“Miss, I’ll have you know I learned something in this class, because I did not know how to do this last year.” … and I know she wasn’t just being nice, either, because I was “getting on her nerves” for all but those 6 seconds. !!! One kid. One kid learned one thing–THANK YOU!! Finally!…

read more »
Aug 25 2010

Big Goals

There’s nothing quite like unveiling your Big Goal over a sea of absolutely unresponsive side-conversations in 8th period. It’s incredible how vulnerable that one lesson makes you. I have a very thick teacher skin that I’m proud of, but I wasn’t prepared for how much of my HEART was up there on the board being…

read more »
Jun 13 2010

Dear San Antonio Charter Corps:

WE are going to be the inspiring numbers, the anecdotes, the data that are going to WOW next year’s 2011 SA CMs, going to make them shudder with excitement and make THEM excited to get going. WE are going to BE those stories! These 100 people are going to be the numbers that define SA for…

read more »

About this Blog

SWBAT close it

San Antonio
High School

Subscribe to this blog (feed)

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


June 2020
« Jun