Blue Suede Shoes

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 08 2014

The Graduation…

A couple of weekends ago, I made a very short trip back to Memphis, my third in the two years since I left. The sole motivation for this trip was to see the first freshmen I’d ever taught graduate from high school. Of course, I got to spend quality time with some of my dearest friends as well, but it was the kids who drove my decision to go. Another added benefit of going to graduation was seeing former colleagues again. We keep up with each other on Facebook, but it’s still wonderful, obviously, to catch up in person.
I can’t describe what I felt, watching all those students parade into the convention center in their caps and gowns. “Proud” doesn’t encompass all the emotions. I saw so many kids I loved see their hard work¬†validated, from the valedictorian whom I never taught but whom I had in homeroom to the…

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Mar 13 2014

The Alumni Survey…

At a dinner a couple of weekends ago with other alums, we got on the topic of the alumni survey. This was perhaps not by chance, as one of my dinner companions was on the alumni team here in Philly. We shared our concerns with one question in particular, the “How likely are you to…

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Feb 21 2014

The Love Letter to a City…

I recently met someone here in Philadelphia who had, surprisingly, actually been to Memphis (trust me, it doesn’t happen often), and she said Memphis was one of two cities she had ever traveled to for a former job that had wildly surpassed her [admittedly low] expectations for it. (The other was Louisville.) It was a…

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Oct 30 2013

The Ideal…

I thought one of the most appealing aspects of being placed to teach in Memphis was that there was no master’s degree requirement. In fact, there was no requirement at all outside of Teach For America professional development to take any coursework toward any kind of additional certification. I had to take a couple of…

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This semester, I’m taking two grad classes in the education school for my education policy degree. One of them is about assessment, and I really enjoy it. Several of my classmates are current teachers; many have years of teaching experience. Besides having mad respect for anyone who is studying for a grad degree while¬†teaching full-time…

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Jun 02 2013

The Critical Mass…

I was lucky enough to teach at a school with other corps members, who quickly became my support system and some of my closest friends in Memphis besides my roommates. My first year, there were 8 of us; my second year, 5. But while clustering was a massive individual benefit, I questioned – and still…

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May 26 2013

The Suitemate…

For those of you starting institute for the first time, the fourth time, and/or the last time, here’s a fond institute memory for you: Four years ago, I moved into a large suite at St. John’s University in Queens for my first institute experience as an operations coordinator. I was still in college, debating whether…

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May 16 2013

The Road Home…

Tomorrow, this time, I will be on my way to Memphis. I will be completely done with my first year of law school and completely free for five beautiful summer days in a city that still, inexplicably yet somehow predictably, has my heart. I think it might have something to do with the idea behind…

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Apr 22 2013

The Sucker Punch…

After I was no longer their teacher, I became friends with many of my students on facebook. Sometimes I’m dismayed by the things they post (and hope they have privacy settings or something), though I’m pretty quiet unless there’s a status or a photo that I particularly like. I wish them happy birthday, send them…

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Mar 12 2013

The Second Visit…

After over half a year in Philadelphia, I returned to Memphis over my spring break last week, and it was such a thrill. It was the first time – since moving away – that I could call myself a visitor to Memphis. I was only in the city for one full day, and much of…

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erstwhile math teacher, current student


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