Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › The Pull

… annnnnd, we’re up again. I’m sitting in my living room with a cup of very hot cocoa, a blasting heater, and a cat on my feet. My laptop is warming my lap, and my to-do list is warming the arm of the (free) mauve recliner I’m sitting in (P.S. in case I haven’t told…

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Dec 14 2011

A Different Heartache

Last year, my heart ached for my students. I learned less about them as people than I did about them as souls, and I positively broke for them. I wept for the way failing hurt them and for how adeptly they had learned to mask it. I ripped myself to shreds over how FUCKING UNFAIR…

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Dec 06 2011

Flickering Convictions

Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing, wonder where my Old Self went. Other times, I feel so lucky to have found myself here, doing this. Sometimes I wonder where I’m going, wonder why I have no direction. Other times, it seems enough, and so obvious, that I’ll be fighting this fight for the rest of…

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Nov 23 2011

I. Love. My Kids.

My kids are just like kids everywhere. I mean, I’m assuming they are—they’re pretty much the only high school kids I know. Some of the girls wear pounds of makeup and hours of hair, and some of the boys brush their heads so compulsively you’re afraid they’ll scalp themselves. Most of my girls completely change…

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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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… because there’s always this point where you sigh and say “But I guess it’s still way better than at this point last year.” I’m not improving fast enough. I want the high of getting better. I’ve reached an imaginary ceiling; some kind of optimum value in the relationship between how much I’m able/motivated/with-it enough…

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May 14 2011

Climate Change

Looking at the next three weeks… and given the last two weeks… I just can’t help but write about the love I feel for my creatures. A huge, huge part of me learning to teach them well was learning them. I didn’t realize this until recently—when I ended some days looking back on how I…

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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 03 2011

Teacher-Polishing Machine

Ever wonder whether you’ve done an adequate job of differentiating? Just count up how many kids pick that day to be a “I ain’t finda DO no work!” day. Unsure about whether you’ve inserted enough checks for understanding? Just look at the ratio of kids sleeping to kids working. Don’t bother asking your PD whether…

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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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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 19 2011

The Second-Year Teacher Act

So. My plan to Make It Happen wasn’t exactly the raving success I wanted it to be. I may have swung a little more toward the “play” side of the work-play spectrum than would have been necessary to make the changes I wanted to make. Maybe I was over-compensating since I finally found the ability…

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Apr 12 2011

Back to Narcolepsy

Partly because of a newfound social life and partly because of a newfound motivation and inspiration for creating good lessons (and partly because of tests approaching and partly because of procrastination on certification requirements), I’ve slept less during these past two weeks than I have during any period since … Institute, probably. On one hand,…

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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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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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If so, I think I have. I don’t even know how to write about the Summit. Ever since Michael Johnston finished speaking, a weird feeling has been turning over and over in me. As I ate dinner at Union Station’s “America” Saturday night and walked the National Mall with a close friend, I kept trying…

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I’ve always believed in rigor and Bloom’s and teaching higher-order thinking. Of course! Of course I want to teach my kids to think at a level higher than the state tests require. But today, the Mirror of Teaching revealed some assumptions I can’t wait to shed. . This particular Thursday morning, I was feeling guilty…

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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…

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Jan 29 2011

Direct quotes from my Brat

I love this girl SO much. She’s really funny, and totally uninhibited. She asks the most random questions, and has been the author or some of the funniest things I’ve heard in the classroom. Part of her reminds me of me when I was in the fifth grade—obnoxious and proud of it, with a totally…

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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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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…

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Region
San Antonio
Grade
High School
Subject
Math

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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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