Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › 2011 › April

Apr 28 2011

Have you met my dad?

Okay, I know I talk about this kid all the time, but I can’t help it. He’s the most ridiculously challenging child but I have a huge soft spot for him. Every day is a new battle and at the very least, he knows how to keep me on my toes. Like last week, when…

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I can’t tell you how much attention I get when I grade papers in public. People will just stare at my pile of tests and watch as I work through them. Anyone sitting by me will feel the need to ask me what I teach and where I teach it. Despite the fact that supermarkets…

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Apr 25 2011

Waiting Game

I have applied to 6 public schools so far. (YES I am working on applying to many more, but writing a cover letter takes me forever and makes me miserable.) I sent my first application in two weeks ago and haven’t heard a peep from a single one of them. Then I applied to a…

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Apr 22 2011

Controlled Effectiveness Studies

Today, our eighth grade science teacher found me at lunch and thanked me profusely. When I asked her what for, she responded, “For doing your job.” Um, you’re welcome? Turns out she was really happy because she had started physics and needed the kids to solve equations, and my kids were actually able to do…

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Apr 21 2011

Easy Street and HS Math

Because my kids are awesome, we finished the 8th grade material before AIMS. Because I was prepared for them to not know basic skills, I’ve spent all year spiraling in the fundamental lower-grade concepts they’ve been missing. Because they are good enough at both these things (far from perfect, but not worth re-teaching) I can’t…

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Apr 19 2011

Leaving my school

So it’s official: I’m leaving my school at the end of the year. It has nothing to do with my job. I love my kids and I have a good time at school. I’m well supported and would likely have leadership opportunities available to me next year. If I could pick up my school and…

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Apr 16 2011

Welcome back every day

This kid is nearly impossible to handle. He tests just to test and pushes just to push. He walks out of class just to see if he’ll be stopped and yells at teachers just to see what the consequence will be. He got ISSed and then cussed out the ISS teacher just so he’d get…

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Apr 15 2011

AIMS is over!

The feedback I keep getting on my blog is that it’s depressing. I’m not exactly sure how that happened, since I wouldn’t use that word to describe either my life or my job on a regular basis, but I guess it’s usually just the upsetting stuff that motivates me to write a new post. So…

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I had a chat with the boys in my homeroom about getting in trouble with the law. These are pretty good boys and they were full of mild stories, ranging from, “I kicked a soccer ball through my neighbor’s window” to, “I was out after local curfew” to, “We were all just hanging around outside…

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Apr 13 2011

Stress Waves

The math sections of AIMS started today. Remember when I said I wasn’t stressed out? I lied. I just didn’t figure it out until the room was quiet and pencils were moving. As I watched the kids test, I found myself wondering if I should get someone to watch my kids so I could run…

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Apr 12 2011

The Weirdest Idea Ever

AIMS Day 1, completed. After turning in their test, the only thing kids are allowed to do is read. Only a handful of kids show up with something they’re interested in, so I have to provide something for the rest or struggle to keep them quiet while they wait for their classmates to finish. I…

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Apr 09 2011

Moral Lines Part III

During Field Day, I got very upset with my homeroom. We were in a dodgeball tournament, and the kids were playing extremely well. They were beating other teams decisively and we even generously let another team play with extra players and then dominated anyway. It was great and we were having fun. The problem was…

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Apr 09 2011

Moral Lines Part II

As part of coaching for Girls on the Run, I lead workshops with the runners on things like healthy relationships and self-esteem. A big theme is conflict resolution, and we work on strategies like talking one-on-one and using “I feel” statements and hearing the other side. Two of my sixth grade girls brought a story…

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Apr 09 2011

Moral Lines

I’m not sure if I can write this story well enough that you’ll understand how heartbroken it left me, so let me preface it by saying this: I was just out salsa dancing with a fabulous group of friends, and the day was weighing so heavily on me that I couldn’t enjoy myself and had…

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Apr 08 2011

High Stakes Detachment

Tomorrow is not a teaching day. Monday starts AIMS. This means that class today was the last thing I can do before testing starts. It’s now out of my hands. I’m nowhere near as stressed about AIMS as last year. I’m also nowhere near as relieved to be done preparing. The end of the year…

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Apr 07 2011

Sorry for reacting normally

Unlike real life, in teaching you have to intensely moderate normal emotions. When middle schoolers are so off-the-wall crazy with their own feelings, there really isn’t any room for the teacher to be grouchy or overtired or sad or angry or sick or anything. Sure, the kids appreciate hearing about these feelings if you have…

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Apr 06 2011

A Hypothetical Question

Admittedly, I am no expert on district-level decisionmaking. I don’t even know much about admin-level decisionmaking… and sometimes I don’t know all that much about teacher decisionmaking. Sometimes, my lack of knowledge leaves me confused. Like, say there was a student who exhibited violence toward the person in charge of discipline at a school. Say…

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Apr 05 2011

Love and youth: perks of teaching math

My kids have decided I must be dating Drake, the rapper. This is obviously true, since I am their math teacher and his song with Rihanna includes the line, “The square root of 69 is 8 something, right? Cuz I’ve been trying to work it out”. I am excellent at pretending the song is not…

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Apr 02 2011

Turnaround Schools

I’m looking for information on “turnaround schools”. If you’ve ever worked in one, or happen to know about them for another reason, could you email me please? [email protected] Thank you

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April 2011
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