Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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May 30 2011

Four Dones and a Not-Done

I’m done with my school year. The best part of this is being told to “have a great three-day weekend!” by store clerks and random people in elevators, and getting to chuckle to myself. I actually have a one-month weekend until I start summer school, and that is pretty much the best thing ever. I’m…

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May 27 2011

Bye, District.

Last day at work. They have my keys and I have my final paycheck. How horribly depressing. I stopped by the district office to say goodbye to the math coordinator and return some of her amazing resources. I was so afraid to have this conversation, since she’s been nothing but amazing to me and now…

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Of course we can’t be done with this yet. I spent all day today cleaning out my room, hanging out with former (!) students, and hugging crying seventh graders. We got all my stuff into boxes, with one kid starting a timer and making me work when kids would stop by to distract me. A…

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May 25 2011

Lots of ugly crying pictures

My eyes first welled up when my kids walked in to the Vitamin C “Graduation” song at the start of 8th grade promotion. Then I teared up more as my principal made her speech, which she cried all the way through. It got a little worse as one of the student speakers gave me a…

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May 24 2011

Worst Person Ever

I told my kids that I’m leaving today. Tomorrow is 8th grade promotion, so I really did stall until the last minute and I don’t regret that at all. Telling them was AWFUL. I have this horrible guilt about leaving here, where I know they love me and need me. I could do great work…

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May 23 2011

Just can’t do math

“Wow, that must be a hard subject to teach, since so many people just can’t do math and won’t ever be able to.” That’s a quote from my hairdresser today. She went on to talk about how numbers just don’t work in some people’s heads, and from a young age you either can do math…

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May 22 2011

Prime and Punishment

I have refused all year to tell my kids my age. I say that I’m 48, and then I guarantee that I’m lying by telling them my age is a prime number. (I’ll tell them on the last day of school, with an awesome math problem my friend wrote. When solved correctly, it will be…

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May 22 2011

Dropout Factories

The other day, I met someone who grew up close to where I teach. He couldn’t place my school, so he asked where my kids go on to high school. When I told him, he just started laughing and laughing and couldn’t stop. “Those poor kids,” he said. “That high school is awful.” This came…

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May 19 2011

I never said you knew nothing!

We’re working up until the bitter end of the school year, since I’m not interested in seeing what havoc breaks loose the day my class loses its regular structure. Today, the Do Now consisted of five algebra problems we’ve been working on from the high school material, involving distributing, combining like terms, x on both…

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May 18 2011


The high school has requested that all 8th grade math teachers fill out a recommendation form for each incoming freshman, picking which class they should start in. This is such an excellent idea that I don’t even mind the extra work, since my knowledge of these kids can tell you much more than a test…

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May 17 2011

This is what’s wrong with education

I am getting old and cranky. There was an accident on my drive to work today, which meant I showed up five minutes later than my kids who come to study. Then I spent the next 55 minutes doing math with them until the bell rang for them to start class and me to start…

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May 16 2011

Surprise Ending

There is a girl in my advanced class who has been completely lost the entire year. She somehow made her way into tenth grade geometry, despite failing the final exam for the prerequisite course and being effectively unable to solve simple equations for x at the beginning of this year. Within the last few weeks,…

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May 13 2011


Today knocked the wind out of me, pretty much all because of this kid. (Here, too!) He is a very, very bright and very, very troubled young man. He was trying to argue the answer to a math problem with me, and I was up on the board trying to explain away his misunderstanding. We…

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May 12 2011

Paper clip to the rescue!

I wore a paper clip in my hair all day. I have kids that show up an hour before school starts for math help, and they wait outside my door and harass me when I’m two minutes late. This leaves me with very little time for things like managing my bangs, and this morning it…

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May 11 2011

Volume and Boredom

A kid got kicked out of his classroom and sent to my room today. I was busy working with kids and didn’t have time to give him something to do. Rather than taking that as an opportunity to sleep, this kid decided to start calculating. He found a reference sheet with formulas, picked up a…

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May 11 2011

Less controversial after heavy editing

If you’re a Teach For America teacher, you probably have little background in education. You also, probably, have only a few weeks of summer teacher training. And then you’re probably taking that weak foundation and trying to use it to do the World’s Hardest Job. While research says you are just as good as your…

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May 09 2011

Going the Distance (5k)

Arizona Girls on the Run held theirĀ  5k race yesterday, and it was an all-around amazing day. I rowed crew in high school and ran marathons in college. I’m not a morning person, but I love waking up at dawn, putting on my race clothes, and eating something high-carb. I love preparing to do something…

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May 07 2011

Your Master-ty

Sometimes, I get so overwhelmed with life that I can’t even blog. That’s always a problem, since weeks like this are also the most full of worthwhile writing material, but I really can’t help it. It’s not even like I was that stressed out this week… I was just too busy to do anything more…

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May 01 2011

Always/Sometimes/Never HQ

They say people who are bad at math are great teachers, because they know how errors happen and don’t just expect things to come easily to everyone. (“Those who can’t, teach” right?) I think that’s crap, and would much rather just teach some math genius to slow down than put a bad mathematician in front…

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May 2011
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