A Journey to the Unexpected

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jul 04 2014

What I found.

Three years ago, when I started this, I mindlessly jotted “finding my way to whatever I find” as the tagline, simply because I had no idea where this adventure in teaching would take me. Well, the time is done, and the blog will close. So where am I now? I am one year further than…

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Mar 13 2014

Those who can, do…

Someone paid me the compliment of setting me up as an example the other day. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it. It reminds me how many people have helped me and how far I’ve come, but more than anything, it reminds me how far I have to go… and maybe that I have to…

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Nov 19 2013

You’d think.

It’s my third year teaching, and it’s easier. Oh no doubt it’s easier. That’s why this blog has been so well neglected. Planning is faster. I sleep more. I eat full meals sometimes. But that doesn’t mean less work… that means more time for more things. So this is what happens right after school in…

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Aug 08 2013

A Fresh Start

Sometime around July, reality hit. While all the TeachforUs bloggers I came in with were heading on to grad school, new jobs, and even the great unknown, I wasn’t. Instead, I was staying in the same classroom that shows the battle scars of countless hours, blood, sweat, and tears… all very literally. In fact, I…

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Mar 20 2013

We’re all people too.

A few weeks ago, every evening on the 10 o’clock news—which around here is mostly just fugitive files—I watched a video clip from a security camera wherein a man was beaten, kicked, stomped on, and very nearly killed. The plea was for anyone who had any information about the aggressors or spectators to come forward,…

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Jan 26 2013

Charter Corps Members Out There?

This afternoon I was reminded just how bad last year was, nothing much, just a little comment about learning how to unit plan that triggered a real, but thankfully manageable, melt-down. I love unit planning now, but figuring it out from scratch (along with everything else) was completely brutal. It makes me wonder–what about you…

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An unexpected 6 days off school and the subsequent need for a break from the nonstop lesson-unit-classroom-assessment-etc-planning that is the life of a teacher leads me to take a few minutes to write, or rant, whichever you’d call it. My desire not to offend other Christians has kept my mouth somewhat shut, but it’s somewhat…

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Sometimes I wonder why I write when few of my experiences cannot be expressed in a song, poem, or expression that someone else has already put on paper. After watching every bit of available news on Friday evening, I put Avril Lavigne’s “Innocence” on repeat (yes, my own flash back to middle school) and cried…

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Dec 12 2012

Superheroes and Spontaneity

Today we debated the value—or awfulness—of sweatshops and child labor. After what ranged from wildly simplistic statements to deeply insightful discussions on modern economics, with plenty of strong opinions from every angle, I asked, “If we’re all starving, but we can sell W. and all eat and be happier, should we do it?” “Sure, pick…

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Dec 07 2012

Fri-Days is Serious-Days.

The last year and a half have had a fairly profound impact on my life, even though I’m still figuring out exactly what that means. I look forward to sitting down with other alums someday and talking to them about what their two years did to them, and what they did with their two years,…

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Nov 28 2012

Some Nights

I’m crawling into bed, not because the work is done, but because my eyes just can’t focus anymore. I’ll be up a little earlier than usual to write down test scores tomorrow. Rather than the cathartic journaling that is sometimes required to sleep, however, I’m blogging, since the whole point of this thing is to…

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Nov 15 2012

I Teach for Malala

I remember one of our first pro-Sats, in which our Icebreaker was to finish the phrase, “I teach for…” You’ve heard the expected responses. “I teach for that student whose life I changed forever yesterday.” “I teach for my classmates who went to prison because nobody believed in them.” “I teach for the single mom…

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Oct 24 2012

My Life in Jason Mraz

I’ve been saying recently that nice people have never meant so much to me. I’ve always been easily amused, but in the last few months, I think I’ve begun to see smiles, encouraging words, and simple acts of kindness the way Mother Teresa did–not that I’ve become the little pencil of God writing his love…

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Sep 22 2012

The things I’ve been paying the most for.

My sister said it best this summer. “You love the things most that you’ve paid the most for.” Every minute of last year cost me blood, sweat, tears, and years of my life—probably more literally than anyone, including myself, really gets just yet. True, this year is better than last, better in a way that…

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Sep 10 2012

Living in the now.

It’s one of the “Uncommon Schools” positive reinforcement practices. From my limited observations, it mostly seems like an Uncommon practice. I’d like to think that my main audience is other teachers, though I’m fully aware that it’s mostly curious and supportive friends and family (thanks guys), but this post I actually intend for “almost” or…

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Aug 21 2012

With Great Power…

One of the first years finally asked that quiet question, that last glimmer of hope that we didn’t have last year—“Tell me, does it ever get better? Is it ever less overwhelming?” A bold question for a girl only a week into her second year who spent the last year crippled and gasping for some…

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Apr 19 2012

6th Period.

I took a moment to look around my classroom—just look. It’s not often that I have the opportunity to observe my own class, but my state advisor had offered to teach my class today as my kids review for the state test—now three instructional days away. It’s impossible to believe we’re almost there, but that’s…

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My favorite season of the year, bar none. This year it’s been a little different—lent happened quietly, school happened loudly, and the week leading up to Easter was my much-needed spring break. Today, I drove home tired, jet-lagged, and happy from a wonderful week with family and friends, and I’ve been trying to settle into…

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Feb 28 2012

Moments as window panes, in other words.

If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain. Did you believe it, Emily? TFA tells me that one day, all children… but…

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I feel like in the last few weeks I’ve had a running list of “Reasons why teaching this semester is a hundred times better than teaching last semester even on the worst days, aka, reasons why last semester may have been the worst six months of my life thus far.” I tend to be dramatic,…

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Feb 02 2012


Ironically, as the clock creeps towards midnight, the purpose of this post is to emphasize the importance of sleep. My principal observed me yesterday afternoon, which always makes me ridiculously nervous–why, I don’t know, since you’d think with TFA and the State coming in I’d have gotten comfortable with this whole talking in front of…

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Jan 31 2012

Best Day Yet.

Warning: This story has no moral. There is no doubt about it whatsoever. I’m sure there could be a moral read into it, or many, but morals and themes belong in an entirely separate category of life right now. I was there, so I should know whether or not there was a moral, and there…

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Jan 27 2012

Reminder to myself, and anyone else

I am doing this because I love my kids. Because my students are incredible creatures, who I may occasionally want to shoot with tranquilizer or send to a hypnotist, but who are still vessels of untapped, misguided, or unformed potential. I think I need to remember that when all that’s getting me through my week…

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Jan 24 2012

long term what?

Once upon a time, I made a long term plan. Then I found out I’d been given all the wrong standards, so I made a new one. Then I realized I had no resources, so I got another resource, and I had a different long term plan. Then I realized that neither I nor my…

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Jan 21 2012

Weakness leaving the body

I went running with my roommate this afternoon. To anyone who knows me, this probably seems like a harmless statement—I love running. To anyone who knows my roommate, I must sound like I’m incredibly in shape—my roommate is a former national track star. Unfortunately, although the former statement is true, it has been years since…

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