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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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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…

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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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Oct 09 2010


oh hey blog. i want so badly for my students to find and use their voices as writers this year, and yet — here is the bitter irony — i have been grasping fruitlessly for my own over the past couple of months. it’s hard to know where to begin; my feelings and experiences have…

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Sep 01 2010

cry me a river!

“i couldn’t do my homework because…because my brother had a pimple…on his neck…and it was big…and it hurt.” teacher look. D, that is not an excuse for not doing your homework.

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Aug 27 2010

gonna use my i-statements some

being in the classroom really does make me feel like i’m putting it all together — all of my experiences and beliefs and passions and skills and who even knows what else. teaching is exhausting because it’s ALL of you. every moment. if i let it slip for even a second, my students would slip…

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Aug 21 2010

more than a feeliiiing

and it just dawned on me why it was PERFECT that i taught middle schoolers this summer even though i’ll be teaching second graders — some of which are the size of kindergartners — starting this fall. having seen how devastating the achievement gap can be when it’s wreaking havoc on 12-year-olds, i am that…

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Aug 21 2010

waka waka

on the monday of the last day of institute, i woke from my usual bus coma with a start. the people around me seemed to be really, really concerned about something, and it only took me about two seconds to figure out why. smoke. black. LOTS. the street was blocked off. there were at least…

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Jul 22 2010

something something progress

don’t get me wrong, i am not one of the all-stars by any means.

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Jul 15 2010

today, this is all the data i could ever need

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Jul 15 2010

one day, one day, one day

point-blank, it’s easy to feel like a failure here. it’s frustrating to “own the results in your classroom” while wondering all day every day what happened in your students’ classrooms in the years leading up to this summer. it’s exhausting to create rough drafts for lessons that you know will likely need to be tweaked…

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Jul 11 2010

bieber strikes again

i totally forgot to mention my highlight of the day from friday. during our last non-academic “academic intervention time,” i was leading the kids in some last culture-building activities to help them realize that they have a lot more in common with each other — and are a lot more unique from one another —…

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i staggered upstairs at the end of the day — note: yes, teaching in heels is a pretty bad idea — and walked towards my classroom feeling kind of…down. yesterday’s lesson seemed to go SO WELL, and today’s was…eh. (good thing all 3 rocketship principals observed today) anyway, something almost supernatural happened to me the…

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things you can do during institute: completely re-do most of your lessons by the time you actually teach them meet amazing, adorable, eager kids meet said kids’ parents and talk to them in somewhat broken spanish learn to kind of like being referred to as “miss!” make a fool of yourself for the sake of…

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Jul 08 2010

i’d go black and blue…

longer post later. for now, this is institute, with authentic post-bus-nap hair:

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Jul 02 2010

and then you take that love you made

almost two years ago, i mailed my friend mica a letter. she was about halfway through her first semester of teaching as an ’08 bay area corps member, and i had a feeling she could use some encouragement. i also had a lot of questions. i don’t remember what exactly i asked her in that…

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Jun 22 2010

blast off

i have a tiny break here at induction – whoop! here is the news of the hour:

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Jun 10 2010

…but i’m not the only one

this thing is STARTING. not quite yet for the bay area corps, of course, but certainly for others, such as friends of mine (and many bloggers on this site) who are already knee-deep in their own inductions and institutes, answering their own 5:30 wake-up calls. (i’m sending tidal waves of encouragement y’all’s way. you can…

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