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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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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…

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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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Jan 25 2012

Vocabulary Lessons

So I’ve finally started to intensely do vocabulary lessons after….well….months of not being sure how (or when) to incorporate vocabulary into my daily lessons.  Because, Law and Order voice: In the English Language Arts classroom, curriculum is divided into three separate, but equally important, parts: grammar, reading, and writing.  And trying to fit direct vocabulary…

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Jan 20 2012


What could make my Friday better than receiving this note from a student? Dear Miss ####, I know I’m not the brightest or smartest student but I do make an effort.  I’m sorry for not actually trying in the past.  I know I’m doing good now and I would love to keep that up.  Thank…

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Jan 19 2012

Sick Day

Yesterday, I stayed after school to help with some extra math prep for the middle school students.  (I haven’t taken a math class since high school, but it all comes back very quickly).  I worked with a student who currently has a D in my class because of missed major assignments and homework; she does…

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Jan 11 2012

The 5 Stages of TFA

Okay, I think I’m going to need to preface this one.  I’m about to write the TFA version of the Kubler-Ross model.  Now, this analogy has to be taken with a grain of salt, because what CMs go through isn’t exactly a grieving process.  BUT it’s survival mode for the first year, and it requires…

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Jan 03 2012

And it’s 2012…

I’m going to try to avoid the “New Year’s Teacher Resolutions” theme that I was originally leaning towards for this post, because A) it might get me down about the state of some of my classes, B) calling something a “resolution” doesn’t add any meaning to it, and C) I’ve never been good at keeping…

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Dec 21 2011

Today’s Quote

At the end of the day: “Miss, you leavin’?  You goin’ home to see your boyfriend?  Miss, what if you get home and there’s a big dinner on the table, and he made it, and then he brings out a ring and pops the question?” Part of me wants to show up with a big…

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…Not.  Or, as my students might say, PSYCH!  Seriously.  I think it’s a combination of the lack of snow (this will be my first non-white Christmas) and the fact that TFA has essentially ruined my sense of time.  It’s like I’m in some other universe where the typical laws of common courtesy and common sense…

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Dec 17 2011

Parent-Teacher Conferences

This week, my school had parent-teacher conferences, which I I was nervous about (do you sense a theme here, with the debate and parent conferences?  Oh right, anxiety-producing).  A significant chunk of my classes earned D’s and F’s because of a combination of no homework turn-in, unruly classroom behavior, and missing major assignments.  Part of…

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Dec 12 2011


I am currently reclining on my couch eating the very burnt chocolate chip cookies my roommate made and watching Teen Mom 2. Honestly, I can think of no better way to unwind after today.  My mind is racing with so many thoughts.  Did Chelsea’s dad really just tow Adam’s car?  (Good for him).  Is Jenelle…

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Dec 11 2011

A Little Humor Never Hurts

The morning after trying to get out of the parking lot quickly after a long day… Student: MISS, you almost ran me over yesterday! Me:  Well, Alicia, you didn’t do your homework all of last week. Student:  MISS! Me:  Like I said, you didn’t do any of your homework!  What other choice did I have?…

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Dec 11 2011

“Nothing Gold Can Stay”

I’m about to start this blog on an extremely bittersweet, but honest, note. The other day, I was reading S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders with an eighth grade student I’ve been tutoring after school.  We got to the part of the book in which Ponyboy reads Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay” to Johnny while they’re…

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