Break Every Yoke

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 03 2014

Top 5

It has been a very long time since I last posted on this blog. Toward the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, my inactivity was mostly self-imposed — I had transitioned to a new college access role and was too busy to write anything substantive. (Though that’s hardly an excuse, since I’ve never been and likely never will be as busy as I was during my first year of teaching.) In the latter half of the year, I tried several times to get back into blogging, only to be discouraged by the shakiness of the TFU platform — I strongly suspect Gary Rubinstein’s blog brought more traffic than the servers could handle. In any case, the site seems to have stabilized a bit, and since I still get a fair number of new visitors on here every month, I wanted to share my five most popular posts, as reported by Google Analytics.

#5: Two years

A summary of my two years in the classroom. Of all my posts, this was probably the most difficult to write, and it is consequently one of the rawest as well. Worth taking a read whether you’re a prospective applicant curious about the experience, current corps member disillusioned with your impact, or a critic hoping to gain an inside scoop.

#4: Conversations I’d like to remember

I’m not sure why this one is so popular, other than the fact that it’s a good illustration of how kids say the darndest things. I sure do miss them.

#3: A guide to high school slang

This is possibly my only post that gets more traffic from the general public than from educators. Most people stumble across it after Googling “high school slang” or something along those lines. (In fact, the post appears on the first page of search results if you Google that exact phrase.) I still think it’s remarkable how colloquial language evolves over time. Maybe I’ll add to this list one day, based on more recent experiences. Maybe.

#2: Dear 2012 corps members

This was a piece I wrote at the end of my first year of teaching. It was meant to be a guide for surviving Institute, aimed at a few of my friends who had just joined the corps, but I guess TFA picked it up and broadcast it far and wide. It’s definitely pretty Kool-Aid-y, and my view of TFA is much more nuanced now after working for Institute two summers in a row, but most of the practical advice is still applicable.

#1: Second year gladness

The stats aren’t even close: this post has almost as many views as the previous four combined. It turns out that the vast majority of traffic comes from Pinterest — current teachers searching for ideas for classroom systems and decorations. I’m glad other teachers are trying to save time and not reinvent the wheel, but the popularity of this post makes me feel guilty since I didn’t implement some of the ideas very effectively. (Students almost never utilized the whiteboard word wall, for example.) Alas. Anyway, if you’re a teacher and have questions about how any of these systems worked in my classroom, feel free to reach out to me at jbkim89 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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    New city, same vision

    Rhode Island
    High School

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