It is what it Is

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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May 06 2012

Starting the Countdown

Mid-April I wrote a heart-felt, soul baring blog post that identified my strongest challenges and most difficult self-realizations. I labored for an hour and a half composing the perfect wording and channeling my fears, frustrations, and negative thoughts into a hopeful and resolute outlook. Then my internet crashed and I lost it. Go figure.  …

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Some pictures from my classroom

I’ve just been teaching full time. Which I totally thought would kill me, but so far, I’m craftier. Every time teaching tries to take me out with another task, assessment, obligation or faculty meeting, or – heaven forbid – certification class homework, I’ve been savvier. I borrow from other teachers, I quick test build with…

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Nov 13 2011

I am still alive… barely

How my year really looks

For those of you loyal readers who missed me (hi, Mom), one might be wondering why there have been no posts in two months. The answer is exceedingly simple. I work 100 hour weeks. Nine weeks have flown by before I even blinked. Thursday and Friday was a whirl of submitting my grades and getting…

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Aug 24 2011

Summer Institute – part 2

So those of you familiar with Teach For America know about the wonderful magical bubble called… dun dun DUNH…summer institute. It’s been called boot camp, wonderland, and a variety of more colorful, less classroom appropriate names. I am now halfway through my second summer institute. But the difference between one and the other is like…

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Aug 18 2011

Just call me Cinderella

Because I turn into a pumpkin at midnight. This is exhausting work! I’ve never been much of a morning person before (theatre kids typically see 4 am from the other side) so being at school by 7:30 has definitely been a challenge. In better news, I received actual instructional materials today! I’m so excited to…

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Aug 16 2011

Day 1 of Real Life

Came… and went – with very little fanfare by myself or anyone else. I was really much more nervous about my first day when I allowed myself to hype myself up about it.  I thought about how I should bring cookies to bribe my co-workers into liking me (what? it worked in first grade) or…

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Aug 10 2011

College Scholars and Poetry

Loyola Class of 2023 I have nightmares of drowning in millions of management plans and investment speeches and methods to signal transitions and consequence charts and classroom posters… … … On my last day of Institute I cleaned the classroom and I found two books under the windowsill. Books without a home, without a reader…

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Aug 07 2011

Why is teaching important?

As I was on the train the other day, I was chatting with a local (as I am wont to do), and the fact that I am beginning my career as a teacher next month came up. “But you seem so smart,” she said, “why would you pick teaching when you can do something worthwhile?”…

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Tired Teachers

1. Even when you drop all the assessments on the floor and they slide under the wall into the next classroom, don’t say $h!t. Third graders have remarkable selective hearing. They will hear that. 2. Don’t stay up perfecting a lesson plan until you triple check that it is the lesson plan for tomorrow and…

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I think what people are saying are totally true; I lucked out with my CMA. She grades our lesson plans, gives us feedback, tapes us and analyzes, and can also talk about how to best prepare for the first day of school. Other CMAs are nice… but not nearly as proactive in preparing Corps Members,…

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Jul 17 2011

yellow conference room on lock

In 5 short, sweet days, Institute will be over. In three short days, the resource room will close. The copy center will be gone. I’ll be back to my own bed and my own desk. I’ll see my non-TFA friends and hit the beach. I’ll get to walk around barefoot and shower whenever I like.…

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Jul 15 2011

The Final Chapter

I didn’t realize how tightly strung I was until I finally talked to my mom today. and wept. It was innocent enough. She wanted to know if I had seen my brother recently. He’s taking the bar exam in the end of July and has spent the summer intensively preparing for it. She told me…

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Jul 13 2011

All that I’m after is Life full of Laughter

wacky wednesday

And I’m a little concerned that I haven’t picked the right profession. Because for as much as I laugh till I cry with my collab (do the dorob), it seems this gets more difficult every day. For example, today I led reading again. I feel like I’m a pretty successful performer all things considered. I…

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Jul 13 2011

Who sings the Star Spangled Banner in the shower?

Apparently, the same person who sings Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. Brava to you, for being so cheerful at 12:30 in the morning. It occurred to me as I was in the shower this evening (and yes, I did block time into my Google calendar and mark it Urgent) that this all comes down to people.…

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Thank goodness for my CMA group. They are the reason I am narrowly surviving the fact that I am actually widening the gap. Last week, we had the mid-institute data analysis and the results showed we suck. Our students are actually getting less smart. I mean, these are the cold hard numbers, and numbers don’t…

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Jul 10 2011

This all just became – vividly – real

I saw my classroom today. I mean, I saw all 16 classrooms at 2510 Cortez St. The building that will proudly house “Una Nueva Escuela Aqui en Septiembre”. I can’t believe that in t minus 56 days I will be facing shiny faces waiting to be taught. Oh My Goodness Let me back up. I’ve…

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My last post was so full of lofty, theoretical considerations that it didn’t even address the fist fight that went on in the Ladies’ Washroom that same day. So much for a nice observation time so my CMA could offer feedback on my lesson plan. Rather, I dragged desks into the halls, separated little girls…

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Jul 07 2011

When it Rains, it Pours

Thank you Morton’s salt girl for providing the visualization for one of the most depressing expressions ever. No sooner had I posted the previous monologue yesterday when I headed upstairs to the DCA session about diversity. And when I say diversity, they mean discussing white privilege. Which I think is an entirely appropriate and legitimate…

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I resolved this morning that if I couldn’t say anything positive, I wouldn’t say anything at all. I also was going to observe much more than I spoke. And good heavens did I do some observing. For one, I haven’t noticed in a while how entirely unnecessary it is to have two people in a…

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Jul 05 2011

Silver Linings

Un-air conditioned classroom – I have lost ten pounds through good, old-fashioned perspiring Classroom on the third floor and no elevator – I have calves like an 1800s French nobleman. Take that Sun King. Facebook is blocked at school – That’s not even a problem. Let’s be real, I haven’t checked facebook since I started…

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Jul 01 2011

All I can do is keep breathing

and by that I mean suck in a huge breath in preparation to scream, weep, laugh or run off into the jungle of a city, never to return. What a fricking week. Between the kids, the work, the lesson plans, the broken chalk, the bathroom breaks, the clothespin wars, the sessions, the lack of sleep,…

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None. The lightbulb remains screwed in. They are too busy being worried over the fact that they haven’t been able to unscrew it for the past three days. I have too much work to do and not nearly enough caffeine. I promise myself an extra long post in response to my first official observation and after…

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Jun 28 2011

Hitting the Wall and 4 am jogs to the Lake

Two guesses as to which of these accurately describe me right now. We talked in my collab about hitting the wall today. Between not wanting to get out of bed (that fixed air conditioner is so! cold) and just needing a few more thousand hits on the snooze button and then the eternal sunshine and…

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Jun 27 2011

The Green Monster – and I don’t mean the CMIM

The best note my Faculty Advisor had to offer today? Don’t say “and” when you read a large number. Like, don’t say one hundred and forty thousand, six hundred eighty two. Say one hundred forty thousand, six hundred eighty two. Really, ma’am? Really? I feel like I seriously stunted the growth of these children by…

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Jun 26 2011

Pride Parade and Promotion Prep

Most of the corps members or alums I have talked to have emphasized the work life balance crucial to maintaining one’s wellness in this incredibly stressful profession we have undertaken. I fully believe that is important. The problem is I want to have more of a life than work. Whoops. This weekend was the first…

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