Break Every Yoke

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 10 2013

Two years

The school year is almost over. This week is reserved for underclassmen finals, and grades are due by next Monday, which means most students will stop showing up after that. Last Saturday was district-wide graduation day, so the seniors are already gone. This Saturday is Alumni Induction, which is essentially graduation for corps members (we even get certificates).  I’ve had my end-of-year conversation with my MTLD, completed my final survey as a CM, and started making plans for my move to Philly in two weeks.
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It’s a weird feeling. How do I begin to sum up the two most challenging and formative years of my life? What words can fully capture the experience of being a classroom teacher—the heights of joy, the depths of despair, and everything in between?
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When I applied to Teach For America two and a half years ago, it was not without reservation. Though I never would have…

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May 30 2013

Drafty

Over the past month, I’ve begun drafting three entries on this blog and another two on my private blog. Only one has made it past a few sentences. This is a testament to the disjointedness of my thoughts lately, as I approach the end of the school year while simultaneously ramping up my responsibilities for…

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May 21 2013

Rough day

I drafted a lengthy, pensive yet optimistic, I-can’t-believe-it’s-already-the-end-of-May kind of blog entry during my prep today… and then period 6-7 happened. It was, without a doubt, the most out-of-control 109 minutes I have experienced in my two years of teaching thus far. I had kids falling asleep, shouting at each other, refusing to sit in their…

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Apr 28 2013

Two stories

It’s not quite dark on Sunday evening, but I’ve already finished all my planning, copying, grading, and data tracking for tomorrow. This is a very novel experience, even as a second-year teacher, so I’m a little disoriented. I guess I’ll use this time to share two stories from last week, one negative and one positive,…

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Mar 29 2013

Good Friday

This is a poem-sermon I first heard two years ago. It has no connection to teaching or education (except in a grand, cosmic sense I suppose), but after a physically and mentally draining month, it’s a jolting shot of hope and a powerful reminder of why today is called Good Friday. It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested…

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Mar 19 2013

Second-year success stories

March is a long and relentless month. I would say it’s kind of like October, the other dreaded month, but without even the prospect of the holidays around the corner. March is about when teachers start to believe, whether they verbalize it or not, that there is truly no rest for the weary. But it’s…

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Mar 06 2013

When salsa is like math

Last September, I joined Brown’s salsa club because I wanted something fun to do outside of teaching, and lessons were cheap and nearby. I improved a lot during the first semester, in large part due to my perfect attendance—lessons moved quickly, and I wouldn’t have been able to keep up otherwise. At the end of…

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Feb 28 2013

Think about these things

I have a confession to make: I have not been myself lately. I’ve felt bitter about being given three preps (plus a new advisory), just as two were becoming manageable. My feedback for others has been four parts criticism to one part encouragement. When I redirect students, it’s less values-driven and more “you do what…

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Feb 21 2013

A guide to high school slang

After a year and a half of teaching, I’ve become quite familiar with the slang of teenagers in Rhode Island and beyond. Below is my best attempt to define some of the terms and expressions that I hear most often in my classroom and hallways. Disclaimer: some of these are mildly offensive. amped - adj. excited,…

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Feb 10 2013

Snow day #2

I just received a pre-recorded phone call informing me that school is canceled tomorrow. Under normal circumstances, this would be cause for celebration, or at least quiet thanksgiving and an early bedtime. But having spent the entire weekend (including Friday) planning, grading, and system-building inside my snow-encased apartment, all I could think as I listened…

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About this Blog

New city, same vision

Region
Rhode Island
Grade
High School
Subject
Math

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