Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jun 30 2011

How to boost employee morale

They told me this was going to happen in my interview, but I actually didn’t believe them. I figured it was one of those promises you make to hire someone and then conveniently forget about later. And it’s true that the school year is still two months away, so there’s still time for this to…

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Jun 29 2011

Is this real life?

Day two, and somehow more of the same. The people at my school are still awesome and smart and hardworking. We played team-building games that were actually fun and we all exchanged phone numbers. The day ended and I had to catch a ride, but I felt awkward leaving because everyone was still sitting there…

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Jun 28 2011

Drinking Kool-Aid 2.0

Everyone knows that Teach Like A Champion is my bible. My new school uses it as the foundation for everything they do. We all got copies of the book and it was referenced constantly in our first day of training today. I am overjoyed. The big focus of my school is organizational culture. We spent…

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Jun 27 2011

Fear of Good Teachers

Twelve more hours until my new job. Here’s the other thing I’m worried about: my colleagues. (This is the last of my worries, before you start thinking I’m a nervous wreck.) My new school is heavy with TFA alums. The application was about a hundred times more in depth than the resume/cover letter/interview process I…

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Jun 26 2011

Fear of Small Children

I’m nervous about plenty of things about my new job (32 hours til I start) but what scares me most is actually the age of my new students. I’ve spent two years teaching exclusively eighth graders, and suddenly I’ll be working with only sixth graders. More frightening yet, at summer school they’re practically still going…

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Jun 10 2011

SOS Texts

It’s 8:30 pm on a Wednesday night in summer and I get this text from a student: “Ms. Mathinaz. It’s J. I need your help.” Immediately my brain goes to terrible places. Someone’s hurt. Someone’s in jail. Someone is missing. Please don’t make me have to call CPS right now. Then I get the next…

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Jun 08 2011

My year in a bag

I just emptied out the bag I’ve been bringing to work for most of the year. I found two pieces of candy, one sock, a container of toothpicks, a Rubix Cube, a pair of earrings, two dice, a measuring tape, thirty-five confiscated Sharpies, three forks, a coffee receipt, two Mexican fast food receipts, a large…

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AIMS scores are out. I can’t really write about mine yet because I just don’t know what to say. They’re definitely bad, but I’m not sure if I should tear myself apart for them or start making excuses. I’m such a better teacher this year than last year, I know my kids learned dramatically more,…

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Jun 06 2011

Chillin on Saturday

A couple of kids asked if they could have a chance to say goodbye to me and the other 8th grade teacher leaving this year. We told them we’d hang out at the park by school this Saturday, and they could stop by if they wanted. We spread the word, they spread the word, and…

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Jun 05 2011

Don’t Quit

While we’re on the subject of classes that tortured me and decided their Big Goal could be running me out after they got another teacher to quit, let me say something to all the incoming corps members reading these blogs: Don’t quit. Don’t do it. No matter what happens, no matter how much you hate…

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Jun 02 2011

Lessons learned by fire

On one of the last days of school, some of my worst kids from last year’s infamous Period 3 class stopped by to visit. There’s nothing like this classic start to a conversation: “Oh hi! How are you? Wait, last time I saw you, you lied to me about coming by to say hi and…

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June 2011
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