Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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The kids were really difficult today. They don’t want to listen, they don’t want to sit still, and they don’t want to work. My Period 3 was defiant and angry in a way that they’ve never been before (not their worst day by far, just a different type of difficult). It’s exhausting. I don’t think…

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Apr 27 2010

Oh Dear

After they finished working today, I gave my last class a few minutes to talk about the immigration law. The kids LOVE talking immigration law. After one boy enthusiastically explained how he was going to bring over all the gangs in Mexico to prepare for the impending Mexicans vs. Whites war, another kid announced to…

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Apr 27 2010


You know what’s nice? Teaching my kids what I want to teach them. Because I think it’s practical. And interesting. And even fun. You know what else is nice? Taking a whole week to teach it to them. Because I have the time. And sometimes kids need more than an hour to learn a math…

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Apr 26 2010


I really only coach softball because there was no one else to do it. It came down to me or no team. I hate softball and haven’t played since the eighth grade, but I love my kids and am a huge sucker. So now I’m a coach. For the boys’ team. Somedays, I HATE coaching.…

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Apr 25 2010

New Immigration Law

(Edit: If you aren’t going to read this very long post, then at least let Colbert explain.) I’m sorry I haven’t posted yet on the new Arizona immigration law. I know it’s made national news and has people telling me to leave Arizona and not look back. Most of the articles about it, like those…

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Apr 22 2010

Mom to 110 kids

I’m feeling more and more like a mom every day. Now that I coach softball, I keep things like band-aids and Neosporin with me, and there are always boys rummaging through my purse to find them. I bring in snacks and feed kids when they’re hungry. Today, we took our 8th graders on a career…

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Apr 17 2010

Not Leaving

“A definition not found in the dictionary: Not leaving – an act of trust and love, often deciphered by children.” That’s from this book, and the quote was sent to me yesterday for use in my blog. It goes nicely with the way everyone keeps describing our kids and their fears of getting close to…

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Apr 14 2010


Of course we have to follow yesterday with today, a day of my children struggling enormously on the math test. Yesterday they felt so confident and worked so hard. Today they kept putting their heads down and tapping pencils like crazy, and they weren’t smiling when they looked up at me. There was a general…

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Apr 13 2010


Day 1 of the math AIMS is over. Today is the day that my stress finally became physical… I woke up every hour last night and was dizzy or nauseated or headache-y at various points throughout the day. Usually I deal with stress by doing something about it, but this time I couldn’t. All there…

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Apr 12 2010

Major life lesson

A student told me he was going to kill himself. I thought he was kidding, but it’s not up to me to make that decision. I called the parents just to let them know. The parent reassured me repeatedly that he was kidding, but promised to talk to him anyway. I emailed my administration just…

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Apr 11 2010

The million-dollar job

Harvard is doing a survey on the type of people who join TFA, and one question has really stuck with me. They presented me with two jobs: a teacher or some average corporate job (I forget the title, but the point was that it did nothing for society). Both jobs made $50,000 per year and…

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Apr 10 2010

Need some heartwarming?

One of these ads came on at the gym this morning, and I hunted down the website when I got home. Obviously you should watch the teacher one, since this is a teaching blog, but then scroll down and watch some others too. I’m really impressed that someone is paying to put these on tv.

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Apr 09 2010

Last Day

Remember that feeling in college, after you took your last final exam for the semester? You walked out anxious about how you did, but feeling relieved that at least it was finally over. All that was left to do was sit back, enjoy the new freedom, and wait for grades to be posted. That is…

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Apr 08 2010

Lots of tears in this one

Today was another relatively excellent day in Period 3. They still walk into the room every day like a pack of rabid animals, which never fails to send me into a panic about the upcoming 80 minutes, but magically they actually do calm down. Today was functional enough that the special ed teacher, her aide…

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My day went well (I forget that but will write it anyway) but ended poorly, which means I’m stuck dwelling on the bad part until I can go in and try again tomorrow. This sends me into one of those awful first-year-teacher lows, where I’m suddenly convinced that I’m a terrible teacher and I’d love…

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Apr 06 2010

Well I double-dog-dare you to behave

Another great day in Period 3. I never expected a streak like this from these kids. We were working in groups of three or four on projects. If you aren’t a teacher, please try to understand that getting middle schoolers to behave and work when they’re sitting with their friends and not being directly instructed…

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Apr 05 2010

I would love to see this research

The Chicago Tribune claims that larger class sizes aren’t a big deal. Clearly these people have never been in a classroom before.

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Apr 04 2010


Six school days until math AIMS starts. I finished teaching new material a few weeks ago, so now we’ve been reviewing. Why is AIMS in April? Why did I have to fly through a year’s worth of curriculum from August to March? What am I going to do after AIMS? (Ignore that last question, because…

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Apr 02 2010

Field Day

Today was Field Day, AKA Best Day Ever. Our entire school was let loose on the fields to play games. There were 18 events within each classroom, and 2 main events (dodgeball and tug-o-war) as tournaments between all classes. It was amazing because I got to spend the whole day with my homeroom, and it…

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Apr 01 2010

One Hour

Period 3 was good today. Not fine, not functional, but actually good. For a solid 60 minute of my 80 minute class. This is a big deal. I played an all-class game with my 2 other classes, and it had gone so well that I decided to risk it with Period 3. I started class…

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April 2010
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