Break Every Yoke

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 11 2012

Second year gladness

There is no comparison between first and second year. Twelve months ago, I was enjoying teaching well enough but struggling mightily just to keep up with its day-to-day demands (the emotional and spiritual, in addition to the physical). This year, three weeks into the new semester, I feel like I have not only kept my head above water but actually stepped onto solid ground in terms of managing my classroom, prioritizing my time, and making my vision come alive for students. Of course, I know that it is only by God’s ineffable grace and wisdom that this has been the case, and the cry of the psalmist has been ever resounding in my heart: “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Details to come eventually, but for now, please enjoy these pictures of my classroom. I made some changes from last year, and the kids have noticed;¬†even the ones I don’t teach often gaze inside longingly as they pass by and comment to each other about the environment and Christmas lighting, as if I’m not standing right there.


Liberal borrowing from my SOM experience this summer.


Preempting the possibility of "Mister, I left my notebook at home!"


Data Wall. No data yet, but there will be shortly.


College wall, minus the posters from last year because I had to tear them down.


My desk is currently a mess. Alas.


Preempting the possibility of "Mister, what's the date today?" or "Mister, what are we doing?" or "Mister, I didn't know there was homework!"


Math Success Wall: another holdover from last year's college theme.


Class values, front and center where they belong.


Leadership shout-outs. I am glad that Joy has the most.


Word Wall and Student Work on a previously useless whiteboard.


And now, back to work. I wish the weather would stay this perfect forever.

6 Responses

  1. Sarah

    i seriously wish you were my teacher.
    your classroom looks awesome

  2. Kierra

    I absolutely love the set up of your classroom. I don’t have much space to work with but I love display of data. It’s large and students will take notice of it for sure! How are you tracking if student’s meet the Ph.D level?

    • Thanks! They have definitely noticed the data wall already. I’m excited to see what it looks like with two data points per class. The degrees on the Math Success Wall correspond to Unit Test scores: BA for 80-89%, MA for 90-94%, Ph.D for 95-100%.

      • Kierra

        That’s an awesome idea!

  3. Shannon

    Hello! I stumbled across a picture of your data wall on pinterest. I am currently starting my second year of teaching, and want to start a data wall. I teach 6th grade with 6 sections of science, but I’m not sure how to start it. I would like students to be able to see their own scores (maybe with an assigned number), but I would also like them to see the overall learning of their class AND all students. Dividing it into 3 sections seems a little daunting…
    Do you have any advice? It would be greatly appreciated!

  4. jennifer

    Hello. I am a middle school math teacher and I love your idea of class values and leadership shout outs. In fact I was trying to use your classroom value posters but icould not see them all. Would it be possible to get a list of those with the bullet points underneath?

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New city, same vision

Rhode Island
High School

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