with love and squalor

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jan 02 2013


I don’t update this blog often.  A recent post on here questioning the relative silence of the 2012 corps and suggesting perhaps there is a rather insidious explanation (such as widespread mental breakdown) for this silence inspired me to write on here.  I may be a 2011, not a 2012, but for posterity’s sake, I…

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Sep 17 2012

On the Strike

It’s bad enough how much trouble the general public seems to have in grasping all the things that can be functioning poorly in a school district.  The anti-union–actually, anti-teacher–rhetoric that virtually all major media outlets are outputting with regard to the current strike in Chicago is utterly despicable.  But what is actually unfathomable to me is…

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Mar 14 2012

The Little Engine That Could

Today, we read The Little Engine That Could.  In our version of the story, there are four trains.  The Little Blue Engine That Can, the passenger engine, the freight engine, and the rusty old engine.  First, the passenger engine and the freight engine come by, and tell the broken down engine that they are too…

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Jan 09 2012

An Education

At last weekend’s Professional Development Saturday, the CEO and Superintendent of Baltimore City Public Schools came in to give  a whole group address to the TFA Baltimore Cohort of 2010-2011.  I have always thought that Dr. Alonso was an interesting guy who had some sharp opinions on education policy (I like to listen to the…

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Nov 10 2011

not saying i regret it

the following contains my own personal advice and it’s not meant to offend or whitewash anyone else or their experiences.  it’s just things i wish i had thought about way back when (actually, not that long ago).  but still… i see that some people have been accepted into TFA this week and are probably considering…

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Oct 31 2011


it’s pretty well known in teacher lore that october is a horrible month.  at least, that’s what everyone says.  students become curious about how definite their teachers’ expectations and purported limits are, and start to test the waters more, behaviorally and also emotionally.  the honeymoon phase starts to wear off and leaves something downright exhausting…

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Oct 18 2011

on sick days

i am sick.  not just a cold, but a stomach bug, vomiting, achey, can barely stand sick.  it started on friday evening as soon as i got home from work and continued throughout the entire weekend.  i had to call in sick yesterday because i was still so weak and out of it and queasy,…

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Oct 07 2011

the best birthday ever

well, after my last post, it’s only right i check in today to say that i had the best day ever with my kids and that it is my birthday (hello 22) and my kids were just DARLING.  some of them even brought in cards and little presents and one parent brought flowers from the…

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Oct 05 2011

just… wow.

i just got home from probably the worst day i’ve had so far as a teach for america teacher, which is weird, because the first half of the day was AWESOME (we know P!  we love the P song!  we can say /p/ and no one mixes it up! we love our literacy alphabet song!…

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Sep 29 2011


today while i was idly googling tfa, i found out that its early childhood initiative has only been around since 2006.  i have to say, this program’s relatively short lifespan, compared to the entirety of teach for america’s existence, doesn’t really take me by surprise, but it also makes me kind of nervous.  i think…

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Sep 12 2011

super nanny???

sometimes, being a pre-k teacher feels more like being a nanny than anything else.  especially when you’re at a k-8 school where many of the people around you seem to have the misconception that your classroom is basically a daycare center.  if i could rewind to a year ago this time… i would not have…

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Sep 07 2011

teaching pre-k for america

i haven’t really had time to come home and write an update here or anywhere else about my life for the past few weeks.  school started for students last week, after hurricane irene interfered for a few days.  i started off with about 16 kids or so.  i’m up to 24.  anyone versed on legal…

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Sep 01 2011

ready or not

i’m way too exhausted/dazed/shellshocked to post a real update on the start of the school year, but i just wanted to record something here for future reference… i have one student, D, the sweetest little boy who is so smart, but spacy, and has some behavior issues but never responds with defiance or an attitude…

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Jul 22 2011

My biggest gain

We have one very young 3-year-old who, for the first two weeks of school, cried all day.  And I’m not just talking about “crying,” I’m talking about hysterical WAILING to the point that everyone in the cafeteria, even other sad kids, would stare at him while he threw a tantrum every morning when his mom…

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Jul 11 2011

A day in the life of…

Well, today was my first day doing both my lesson and the lesson for the girl from my collab who quit last week.  It was a little rough on all of us (by all of us, I mean me and my children) but we got through it.  The centers and math objectives for today were…

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Jul 07 2011


So, one of my collab members dropped out today.  Let me preface this by restating that, in ECE, there are four members to a collab.  Person A teaches Literacy Block 1, while B assists and C/D are upstairs in session.  Then B teaches Lit Block 2, while A assists, with C/D still upstairs.  Then the…

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Jul 03 2011

Now for a real post

I don’t really know how to describe institute.  Yes, it is a lot of work.  But I think most of us knew that it would be.  I have no complaints about the workload because, honestly, if you are efficient and productive, it’s not that overwhelming (but it is definitely a lot, and it is not…

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Jul 03 2011

I know I shouldn’t be, but…

I am soooooooo jealous of all the other institutes that have tomorrow off. Philly doesn’t. (We get to start a little late, but still, it’s not the same thing.)

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Jun 14 2011

frantic panic time!

It is utterly AMAZING how time passes.  I remember back in January when I got the news that I had been accepted into TFA, it seemed like June 20th would never, ever come.  Now it’s (almost) here.  In between January and now, a lot happened to me.  I finished my thesis and all of my…

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Mar 15 2011

Hard Times at Douglass High

I just finished rewatching the movie that I first found out about TFA through.  It’s an HBO documentary called Hard Times at Douglass High: A No Child Left Behind Report Card. I think I watched it when I was in ninth grade, and I remember sitting in my basement, all alone, open mouthed while I…

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Mar 12 2011

an addition to praxis reflections

I just want to add to the recent posting trend of commenting on the Praxis II exam I took today.  I agree with others who have expressed criticism over the Praxis testing system.  They are expensive, somewhat disorganized, and I’m not sure how useful they are.  My closest testing center was very far away (wutup…

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Feb 28 2011

In like a lion

First, I just need to say that it’s a miracle that I am lying IN MY BED at 11:00 p.m. on a school night, ready for sleep.  I probably won’t actually go to sleep for a few hours, but the point is that I managed my time so well that I am in the position…

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Feb 22 2011

A brief excerpt from my thesis

I just wrote this yesterday, so it is very rough, but also very applicable to what we’re attempting to work against at Teach For America.  Although the thesis is not specifically about education, it has a relatively lengthy chapter specifically on Brown v Board of Ed. and the impact of this Court ruling.  The thesis,…

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Feb 09 2011

My Journey to the Math Office

I just found this while looking through reeeeealllllly old emails–it’s from an email to my then-boyfriend, from my sophomore year of high school.  It’s written absolutely horrifically, but, then, I’ve gotten a LOT smarter since then, so I’m not really ashamed to post it.  Because, well, it’s hilarious (and 100% true).  I thought some teachers…

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Feb 01 2011

Inadequacies and otherwise

I’m trying to restrain myself from updating this blog too much, because, at the rate my thoughts have been spinning, I could probably add a post 5 times a day.  And, yet, there’s not really anything too new to report.  I’ve been having lots of daydreams about my future ECE classroom, which has led me…

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