Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Standardized testing is screwing everything up. This is a statement, I think, that is not entirely unpopular. Hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, and parents* who feel crippled by the inaccurate, narrow, confining implications of these “measures of learning” agree with me. I promised myself I wouldn’t cuss, rant or appear generally unprofessional in this…

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In my pre-reading for TFA institute (and, actually, in the pre-interview readings as well) the gap of “achievement” (using data like test scores and graduation rate) between affluent kids and kids in poverty was always called the…wait for it…”achievement gap.” (Whether or not test scores and graduation rate actually¬†denote achievement is a whole other issue,…

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I’ve been trying to write this post for a while. I’ve been mulling over it since the last day of school, I guess. I wanted to have some breathtaking, sweeping, end-of-year proclamation, some culminating fantasy-ridden statement about my experience as a teacher in Oklahoma City. Currently, the only word I can come up with is…

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Feb 27 2013

the numbers game

i can’t even remember when i last posted, and i know the whole universe is hurtin’ because of it. don’t worry though, because i didn’t a.) jump off a cliff, b.) push a child off of a cliff and thus am facing multiple years in prison or c.) eat myself into a coma at buffalo…

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Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to beat the shit out of each other; The wretched refuse of surrounding schools with solid discipline policies, Send these, the expelled, Tempest-tossed to me I unwillingly lift my pointer and pretend to have hope! Not like the brazen giant of the real world post-high…

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Mar 27 2012

what I didn’t know.

I’ve been wondering for a while if I should unleash here on this ole blog. I worried about the consequences of my carelessness and fretted about the fact that my bosses, my peers and any other curious onlooker could read this and judge it in any way they wanted. But after today, I think it’s…

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Feb 22 2012

for the overwhelming good of my children

I NEED IT TO BE SPRING BREAK NOW. If you get a puppy and it chews something up, and then looks at you with sad eyes and puts its tail between its legs, for how long do you yell before you hug it and tell it you love it? If you don’t discipline it, does…

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Jan 21 2012


….is the bleakest of months.   I tried to think of the most dramatic opener I could, and that’s what I came up with. How’d I do? It’s hard to believe that a mere 20 days ago I was ringing in 2012 at a club in Ann Arbor with my new friend Phil, a 26-year-old…

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Nov 13 2011

the 8-year plan

My Biggest Fear has evolved. It isn’t, surprisingly, early death by manic clowns with vampire fangs (specifically in the showers of the locker room at the PEC on campus in Wooster, Ohio), as it has been for a significant portion of my life. It isn’t even failure, which one would expect from this job. It…

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Oct 19 2011

learning from the best

I don’t think I talk about my mom enough. So I’m going to, because she’s the best. She teaches 7th grade at a kind of down-and-out middle school (re: science is cut for reading, music is cut for test prep, etc.) in our hometown, and I happen to be typing this from her desk at…

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Aug 24 2011

what i teach.

If I knew then (i.e., this summer, before unit planning) what I know now (haaaa), I would have planned a little differently. My first lessons wouldn’t be characterization and setting and topic sentences and inferences and transitions, as they were. Instead I would have carefully crafted a unit one plan consisting wholly of life skills…

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Aug 09 2011

post-first-week insanity

It’s the beginning of the second week of school and I just ate the second to last juice bar in the box (which I bought yesterday) and realized I couldn’t put off blogging any more. Every day I come home with about eight trillion things I want to write/scream/cry/laugh/punch a wall about and somewhere between…

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Jul 07 2011

lots of stuff.

Yesterday a nationally-recognized dust storm swept through Phoenix and then less than 6 hours later (at 5:50 am, mind you) the fire alarm in my dorm went off. Two unrelated events that fit perfectly into the theme of my time here thus far: hella chaotic, slightly illogical and altogether almost laughably challenging. I read a…

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Jun 29 2011


This morning, we asked our students to finish this sentence: “I like being a scholar because…” We’ve been talking¬† a lot in our classroom about what it means to be a scholar on the most basic level (i.e. follow the rules) and the higher levels (i.e. solve complicated equations, read long books, graduate from college…

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Jun 24 2011

always does.

Before I explain why exactly I wanted to grab one of my seventh-graders by the shoulders and shake him all before 9 am today, I’ll fill you in on some logistics of my summer school classroom. Here are the basics (we’re learning to write summaries next week, soooo I’ll fill you in on some key…

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Jun 17 2011


[excuse the lack of capitalization. i'm about to get realllll poetic, you know?] but anyway. i’ve been thinking a lot about numbers lately. examples: 5:39. when my alarm goes off. 5:46. when i get out of bed. 350. number of students attending conchos elemetary summer school. 21. number of students in room 21, the 7th…

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Jun 15 2011

super tuesday

Welp, I haven’t written in ages so I’m going to forget a lot/sound ridiculous/write in fragmented sentences (it took me five minutes to type that word) because it’s late (10:46 pm..amazing how perception changes) and…it’s Super Tuesday. Someone referred to today (Tuesday, duh), aka the second day of Institute (which is where I’m at right…

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Jun 06 2011

from the flatlands

So I know this blog is supposed to be about my experiences teaching, but the truth is, I don’t feel like a teacher at all (pre-training, obviously) and probably won’t till Thanksgiving at least. So here is the obligatory travel story, which I’m writing because I know you all (y’all! ha!) are just absolutely biting…

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May 23 2011


It’s 2:30 pm and I’m still in my pajamas, which is probably neither a good sign nor an appropriate way to introduce myself to the world of TFA blogging (first impressions, you know?) BUT is nonetheless true. You may be wondering why, and the answer is…I don’t have a good answer. I’ve been thinking a…

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lassos, longhorns and literacy

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