Break Every Yoke

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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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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Jan 13 2013

Fragments

Thoughts to flesh out at some point, maybe: ————— I have a couple students who are sleepy every single class period. They’re not being defiant; they simply can’t stay awake for more than fifteen minutes at a time, and I don’t know why. The standard response to my probing is, “I’m just tired, mister.” What…

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Vacations are tricky things. The “freedom” they profess to offer is illusory: the more time I spend upfront with family, books, hobbies, or sleep (i.e. regaining normal functionality), the greater the anxiety to utilize the rest of the break getting caught up with (or ahead on) school work. The end of a vacation usually sneaks…

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Dec 20 2012

Skate shops and revelation

Today was the last school day of 2012. I do plan to reflect critically on the first semester sometime over the break, but for now I just want to record two stories from yesterday. ————— MS transferred to my school this year as a sophomore—though he’s supposed to be a junior—and I have him in…

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Aug 25 2012

Harmony

I begin my second year of teaching on Tuesday. From the outside, not much has improved since last year. I have no idea what my schedule will look like, since it has changed three times already; I am teaching subjects that I have never taught before to an age group I have never worked with…

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Jul 29 2012

Thoughts on identity

More often than not, this blog serves as a place to record and reflect on particularly notable events in my already eventful life as a teacher. It would seem appropriate, then, to write about my first experience on staff with NYC Institute, which just concluded yesterday. However, the past six weeks have been filled with…

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I haven’t posted any knockout success stories from the classroom in a while, so to make up for that, today I have two. Emerging from a January filled with extremely late nights, management woes, and stress over teacher evaluations (more on that in a future post), it’s encouraging to celebrate the evidence that I’m nevertheless…

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Jan 22 2012

Calm and quiet

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel,…

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Dec 25 2011

Reflections of a traveling teacher

It seems fitting—symmetric, at the very least—that I should be writing my last entry of 2011 the same way I wrote the first: in an airport terminal, waiting for my flight while reflecting on what lay before and what lies ahead. In the past four months, I have embarked on the toughest journey of my…

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Nov 25 2011

Give thanks in all circumstances

Fact #1: I’ve spent a majority of the past 72 hours sleeping like a baby. Fact #2: I had to take half days on Tuesday and Wednesday because of flu-like symptoms and a splitting headache that made it hard to even stand up straight. Fact #3: Yesterday was my fourth time spending Thanksgiving away from…

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Nov 12 2011

So You Think You Can Teach?

To say that Teach For America places a strong emphasis on planning would probably be an understatement. According to one of the six characteristics of TFA’s Teaching As Leadership framework, high effective teachers “plan purposefully.” (Without ascribing undue significance to the order of said characteristics, it’s interesting to note that “plan purposefully” comes before “execute…

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Student reactions upon seeing me in a V-neck and AF-1s on Casual Friday J.: “You mad fresh today, Mr. K.” N.: “Dangggg look at you with your Air Forces.” K.: “Hip-hop! Hip-hop!” D.: “Mister, you look like a middle schooler today.” L.: “Mr. K, you look so cute!” I mentioned in my last post that…

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Oct 08 2011

Counting it all joy

Overheard at the end of a block N.: “Ohmigoshhh I lost my exit slip!” An unintended consequence of blogging on weekends is that I’m usually writing when I’m physically and emotionally at my peak. I get to catch up (somewhat) on sleep, I can actually spend some time reading for pleasure and chatting with non-teacher…

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Oct 01 2011

October is here

Overheard while using my wireless clicker from inside my pocket D.: “How is he doing that?? It’s blowing my mind right now!” They say that October of the first year is supposed to be the hardest month of teaching. Before I started this job, and even a week into September, that made no sense to…

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Overheard during Guided Practice R.: “I’m totally looking up Mr. K on Facebook.” I have started writing this entry five or six times since last Friday, only to be thwarted each time by a sudden onset of writer’s block or severe exhaustion. However, now that it’s been two weeks since my last post, I feel…

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Random comment during a lesson on transformations L.: “Mm mister, you smell good!” ————— Fact #1: I have now taught for almost three times as many hours as I taught at Institute. Fact #2: Preparing for two classes (or in teacher lingo, having “two preps”) is exhausting. Fact #3: High school seniors are still children.…

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Random comment during a lesson on procedures E.: “Mr. K, you look like you’re really really old. You look like you’re like, 24.” I’ve officially made it through the first week of the school year, and wow, what a week it was. Thanks to certain apocalyptic predictions about Hurricane Irene (I’m looking at you, weather.com),…

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Aug 27 2011

Pre-hurricane reflections

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so…

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Aug 22 2011

+s and Δs, part 2

Overheard during the all-corps kickoff BBQ M,TLD: “Yes, there was poop involved with my middle school.” Somehow, I’ve come down with a case of severe acute writer’s block. Fortunately, it’s been a quiet and relatively uneventful week, so I don’t have much to write about anyway, but those things that are worth mentioning will have…

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Aug 14 2011

Turnarounds and divine education

Overheard during WaterFire, upon observing CMs with unlit torches Random person: “Well, if they can’t handle fire, they definitely can’t handle the students.” The past week has been fairly uneventful compared to Induction, Institute, and the first week of F8W, which affords the perfect opportunity to finally provide some context for my school and teaching…

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Overheard on the last day of summer school F.: “I like that vest, but it looks ugly on Mr. K.” Today marks exactly one week since the end of Institute. It’s hard to believe that just seven days ago, there was still very little on my mind except big goals, student investment, purposeful planning, effective…

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Jul 24 2011

Wings like eagles

Conversation while walking to the cafeteria M.: “I want to go to St. John’s or Harvard Law School.” Me: “Hmm, why Harvard?” M.: “Because the smartest people go to Harvard.” Me: “Did you know that Yale has the best law school in the country?” M.: “No, you’re just biased.” (Disclaimer: I admit that I am…

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Jul 18 2011

Hump week

Overheard in the dining hall CM: “I just want to go to bed and fall into a coma so I don’t have to go to school tomorrow.” The days are flying by now. I can hardly believe that just three weeks ago, I had never stepped foot in the classroom as a teacher, created a…

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About this Blog

New city, same vision

Region
Rhode Island
Grade
High School
Subject
Math

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