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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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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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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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Nov 11 2012

The Anniversary…

Three years ago yesterday, I was accepted to Teach For America in Memphis. I’ll never forget the euphoric relief I felt when I finally checked my e-mail that evening. I’d had the back-up plan of law school, but let’s be honest, who wants to use a back-up plan? I remember where I was (the empty…

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Jun 13 2012

The Brother…

Teach For America 2025?

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May 23 2012

The Conclusion…

In the wake of finishing two years in the classroom, I have found myself reflecting a lot lately about those years, what they have meant to me, and what I am taking with me from the experience. I am disappointed, yet satisfied; angry, yet joyful. I am hopeful for what’s to come in my life,…

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Mar 07 2012

The Turkey People…

I have often thought that Teach For America should require a longer commitment. Would this result in fewer applications or higher attrition? Perhaps. Would this result in more effective teachers and leaders? Probably. Is this feasible at this point? I don’t think so – at least not nationwide. The idea of year 3 has been…

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Feb 28 2012

The Beauty…

7/8 of my teaching commitment is almost over. I knew the time would fly (it always does…), but it’s still hard to believe that it’s been two years since I came down to Memphis that first time with my family the winter after I got in to Teach For America. It will be very hard to leave…

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Jan 18 2012

The Eavesdropper…

Yesterday, I was sitting in the bleachers at my team’s last regular swim meet when I overheard two teachers from another school talking about Teach For America. Ears perked, I listened to one criticize a corps member at her school and say that anyone could get good results as a teacher if he or she…

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Oct 28 2011

The Incentive…

Tennessee – and Memphis specifically – is at the heart of a lot of potentially powerful change in terms of education reform. Big names in Teach For America history – Kevin Huffman and Chris Barbic – have taken positions in state education leadership; there is a city-county system merger set for 2013; the Teacher Effectiveness…

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Jun 08 2011

The DRA…

Thank goodness I taught at a high school last summer, because the DRA seems crazy! Okay, not really crazy, but just complicated. Lots of bits and pieces to remember, lots of kids, lots of time. And I’m sure the logistics of testing and the system has been reworked over and over to be the most…

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May 29 2011

The Third Time’s a Charm…

Here I am, back at institute for the third summer in a row. I really enjoyed both of my previous institute experiences of being an operations coordinator, which solidified my intent to apply for and join the corps, and a first-year corps member, which solidified my intent never to come to institute again (see how…

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May 05 2011

The [First] Final Stretch…

My algebra students took their end-of-course test on Tuesday. Naturally, I’m very interested in seeing the results. Several students told me they thought it was easy, but I don’t necessarily believe all of them. We shall see.  One of my strongest students told me today that she didn’t finish, which really frustrated me, because the…

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Jan 02 2011

The Fresh Start…

TFA shouldn’t let corps members go home for winter break. If I thought it was hard to get back on the plane after Labor Day weekend with my family in Florida, it was ten times worse this time around, after two excellent weeks at home. On New Year’s Eve, I looked in the mirror and…

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Nov 14 2010

The Movement…

Clicking around on TFANet, I found a discussion on the 20th Anniversary Summit community titled “What were YOU doing 20 years ago?” Whoa whoa whoa. I did a complete double-take. Now, of course, I know this is the 20th year of Teach For America’s existence. I registered for the summit; I’ve been on staff; I’ve…

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Nov 10 2010

The New Class…

Congratulations to the first batch of 2011 corps members! A year has passed since I logged on to find that I’d be joining Teach For America in Memphis. One co-op, one graduation, one institute, and three months of teaching later, here I am calling new accepts to welcome them to our corps. It’s like we’re…

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Oct 09 2010

The First Nine Weeks…

One-eighth of my Teach For America commitment has ended. I am alternately satisfied and dissatisfied with the way the past quarter has gone. As one of my more bratty students said a couple of weeks ago, in an attempt to defend her class’s poor behavior,  “We haven’t made you cry yet.” That’s still true, so…

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Aug 25 2010

The Investment Piece…

It breaks my heart every day how behind my students are. I think what bothers me even more, though, is the lack of investment I see. I believe students can and want to learn (Habit of Mind #2, perhaps?), but I’m not sure they know how to express that desire productively. Most of my students…

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Aug 11 2010

The Best Question…

The past two days, I wasn’t able to gauge where I stood, really, with my students. They were, for the most part, attentive, well-behaved, and quiet. Very few people even volunteered to call out answers to questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” I did think I was projecting a no-nonsense attitude, but I couldn’t tell…

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Aug 09 2010

The First Day…

Before I fell asleep last night, I thought to myself, I will never get another first day of teaching again. No matter how things had gone today, it would always have been the one, solitary first day of teaching I would ever get to experience. No takebacks, no backsies. Just one and done. And it…

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Jul 14 2010

The Anti-Climax…

I have become accustomed to anti-climaxes lately. First, there was the whole matter of being away from school for my last semester. Leaving in December didn’t feel like the end; graduating in May seemed like an afterthought. Then, there was the end of my co-op. I left at noon that Friday, after cake and a…

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Jun 12 2010

The Epiphany…

On the first day of institute, it finally sunk in that I am going to be a teacher. Remember that I accepted Teach For America’s offer in November, so it’s apparently taken six months for me to grasp this concept. I am going to be a teacher. I am going to stand in front of…

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May 07 2010

The Path…

As I was cleaning out my many, many boxes of college stuff a few weekends ago at home, I found a brochure from the first Teach For America information session I went to during my freshman year. (Pack rat, party of one.) I can still picture the room (100-something Thomas, the one on the left before the…

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Apr 28 2010

The Classroom Observations…

As I’m conveniently residing in a Teach For America region (Mid-Atlantic), it was rather effortless to set up a couple of school visits to complete my classroom observations. I simply got in touch with the contact person listed in the pre-institute work book, and she put me in touch with the secondary math program director. Almost…

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Apr 23 2010

The Offer…

Does it seem strange to anyone else that Teach For America asks that we take the first offer we receive? I understand the logic behind it, as interviews are supposedly scheduled in some sequential strategic fashion so that they end in a hire, and it wouldn’t make sense to have corps members field multiple interviews/offers,…

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Apr 22 2010

The Interview…

After officially submitting my application through the Teach Memphis website, I prepared myself for a whole lot of waiting. To my surprise, just a few weeks later, I received a call to schedule a phone interview with the principal of a high school. Never having interviewed for a teaching job before, I read through the interview preparation document Teach For America Memphis had…

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About this Blog

erstwhile math teacher, current student

Region
Memphis
Grade
High School
Subject
Math

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