A Modern Bildungsroman

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 02 2012

“Why did you want to be a teacher?”

Over spring break, I visited my college (alma mater has never been a natural word for me to say–it makes me feel like a character in Mona Lisa Smile), and I realized that one of the biggest things I’ve learned over the past year isn’t about how to lesson plan, or how to try to get kids to respect you, or how to juggle what seems like a million responsibilities.  The most important thing I’ve learned is the value of the education I received.
Let’s take a few steps back.  A couple weeks ago, one of my students asked, “Miss, why did you want to be a teacher?”  This is a comment that sometimes feels like a punch in the stomach in the context of awful classroom management, piled up work, and stress.
I told my students, “Well…I had a really great education.  I went to the same small school from kindergarten through…

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…To remind me why I teach when I’ve had an especially difficult day.  Today, it started when a student threw something and it hit me during a class period full of off-task behavior.  This resulted in me tearing up, which students certainly noticed.  To try to hide it, however, I wrote on the board, “I…

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Mar 12 2012

A Monumental Day

Today was a wonderful day, and here’s why: My homeroom didn’t have to take a standardized tests today, but the other grade across the hall still had to test.  This meant my students would have to be quiet for 1.5 hours, when back in the beginning of the year, they could barely be quiet for…

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What 22-year-old wouldn’t want to spend a Saturday night out in Manhattan? I tried.  I really did try.  It was the birthday celebration of my boyfriend’s friend, and we went out to dinner and then a bunch of us were at his apartment in Midtown.  I had my Red Bull in hand.  I had my…

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Mar 10 2012

It sounds like the start to a bad joke:

Three corps members walk into a bar and…decide they’re moving to California? Recently, two corps members and I went out to our local pub to get some dinner and drinks to celebrate one of our birthdays.  About an hour in, after we had been swapping stories about work, the song “California Dreamin” came on.  We…

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I have a school year calendar on the bulletin board in my apartment.  Literally, as soon as I get home every day, I get satisfaction from drawing a big, black line through that day.  Ha!  Over!  I won.  If I didn’t write the date on the white board of my classroom or cross out the…

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Feb 27 2012

Anticipating Monday

I could write all about how I feel on Sunday nights.  Or, I could just post this:

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Feb 25 2012

Saturday Musings

Yesterday, with one exception, was a great day.  One of the city’s theatre groups came in to lead some literacy-based activities for my students, which they (and I) loved.  On a selfish note, it meant I didn’t have to plan and that I could let someone else take the reigns for a day.  On a…

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Feb 11 2012


It is 11:00 on a Friday night and I am…blogging?  Another way my life has changed drastically since last year.  Hmmm….not gonna dwell on that one too much! This week has been a roller coaster.  Actually, most weeks have been roller coasters, with me alternating between “How can I ever return for a second year?”…

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Jan 29 2012

I Bought a GRE Workbook

In college, I read an essay by Donald Antrim called “I Bought a Bed,” which is where the title of this post comes from.  The essay is about Antrim’s many unsuccessful attempts to find a bed after the death of his mother.  At the end of the essay, Antrim writes: “I stood in my empty room.…

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