world on fire

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 28 2011

epilogue part 1

when i first made my decision not to return to the classroom for year 2, i felt the need to defend myself; although i decided to leave for a variety of reasons, many of which sprang from the deep depression within which i found myself for most of last year, i was not doing so because i no longer cared about the mission of teach for america. quite the contrary. the sentence i found myself repeating most whenever i defended myself was “i’m not leaving to sell makeup or something.” i certainly could have communicated more eloquently and effectively, but the simple meaning was, “hey, i’m still IN this thing. just not in the same way.”
i’ll be honest: i don’t regret my decision to leave the corps, but that doesn’t mean i don’t miss my kids viscerally. i’ll have dreams about them fairly frequently — most set in my old…

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Apr 25 2011

the one where i explain my decision to leave

During my TFA interview a thousand years – and by that I mean not even two years – ago, I knew that I would be asked about whether or not I could ever see myself leaving before my two years were over. My relentless perusal of Relentless Pursuit prepared me for this, and I was…

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Jan 27 2011

we can work it out

there have been multiple occasions now on which i’ve assumed i’ve hit my lowest point. i’m finding i can always, always, go lower, as if my life is a neverending game of Sad Limbo. so far, my lowest point happened two nights ago. as i stared at my bleeding scalp and the mascara streaming down…

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Jan 19 2011

they call me names, they say i’m brown

my students were enraptured by the martin luther king, jr. read-aloud book i read to them today. a lot of them had learned about him before, whether in their first-grade class or in the reading center, and shared their understandings with the class whenever i prompted them with questions (and sometimes just when they wanted…

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Dec 17 2010

stormy weather

[during arthur's christmas, a ridiculous read-aloud book for which i didn't even really try to assign a real objective other than imparting the idea that good readers read for fun] “ms. garnett? why are you crying?” “if i wanted to talk about that, i would.” the bizarre, and utterly exhausting, fact about this work is…

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Nov 28 2010


the other day my roommate was answering interview questions for her college newspaper, which is doing an article on the tfa experience. “which aspect of your experience has most surprised you?” she turned to me and read out loud. we both sat there for a moment, considering what our answers would be. “hm. how your…

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Nov 18 2010

be true to your school

first things first: i have posted my first project on donorschoose, so please take a moment to check it out if you’d like to play a part, no matter how small, in closing the achievement gap in my classroom! i would greatly appreciate ANY amount of support, and know that my students would too :)…

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Oct 21 2010

cree-ee-ee-py crawlerz

welp, we had our first lockdown last month, so it was only a matter of time before we had our first [You Teach In An Urban School So You Cannot Possibly Escape A] Lice Crisis. i’m in a 4-day GLAD (guided language acquisition design) training, thank GOD; otherwise i would be panicking on the way…

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Oct 18 2010

thrillerrrrrrrrr, who? who?

[i put some music on youtube while the kids work on publishing their first narrative of the musical selections is michael jackson's thriller, because, why not] “G, what’s wrong? you look like you’re upset about something.” “i’m shy.” “you’re shy?! i’ve been to your house! we’ve talked a thousand times! why are you suddenly…

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Oct 17 2010

i…honestly can’t think of a title.

D is sometimes like a walking shadow. her home life is the stuff of rocketship legend; the story has it that her father, brimming with machismo, once threatened to “call CPS” on the school, and on another occasion actually attempted to run over faculty members with his truck. to be perfectly honest, i had no…

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