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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Feb 25 2013

Someday, maybe

On January 26th, I was riding the bus home from a professional development workshop and I accidentally let my mind wander into the teaching world. Not thinking about teachers in general, or thinking about schools or districts, but actually imagining myself in front of a classroom.   Thing is, these imaginings were not accompanied by…

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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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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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Problem-solving is essential. Engage your students in creative thinking. As teachers, we use extrinsic motivation for criterion checks, but be careful to stick with guidelines for high-stakes testing in heterogeneous groups. You are required to volunteer strategies so everyone is on the same page. I believe in data. Data, data, data. You need to know…

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Sometimes I love teaching. When I feel like I could be good at it. When I’m going crazy and not sleeping and not thinking about anything else.   Then I take some time to refuel, and then I take more time, and then I start to not want to start. Like REALLY not want to…

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Nov 27 2011


what the hell am I doing within the existing system? Proving that I can do this job almost as well as all those education majors can? Sometimes it feels like that’s what we’re here for.

I want to work for change alongside TFA people. But I don’t know if I want to spend my energy plugging okay teachers into a system that chews them up and spits them out, hoping for the day when someone comes up with a better idea and there are enough alumni and other like-minded souls around to support it.

Not sure exactly how this relates to my sudden urge to deface public property with graphic messages about inequality in education. Maybe because I feel like that way I could at least point a bold finger at the problem, instead of working myself to the bone but missing the point?

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It’s 364 days after my very first day as a real live professional, and I spent today in much the same way that I spent August 16th, 2010. Our principal started the day by making a harrowing speech about how we’re the worst of the worst. It was quite graphic. “There are five stages to…

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Apr 28 2011

Is this Real Life?

It feels like a weekend, but I work tomorrow. These last couple days of working without teaching have made me wonder whether this is what it’s like to be a Normal Person with a Real Life—I wake up, go to work, then leave work at work before I come home and relax. Right now, my…

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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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Feb 09 2011

What happened to teaching?

Today was going to be a great day. Laying The Foundations is a wonderful day of professional development—it’s the least relevant of any of them, but it’s FUN. We spend the entire day just doing math problems, with only  minimal discussion of “strategies” and “tricks” and blah blah ideal-classroom blah. For a day, I just…

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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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Nov 29 2010


It’s just part of the nature of this messy job that so much of it goes unwritten and unsaid. I could write volumes and volumes and still never capture the range of what I do and have done to me, what I do and don’t accomplish, what I ache for, and what things might be…

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