Break Every Yoke

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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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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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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Two days ago, I wrote a draft of an entry that described, in excruciating detail, the many circumstances (both school- and non-school-related) that have made the past two weeks the most exhausting two weeks of my life. Around the same time, I also uncharacteristically updated my Facebook status with a sampling of those circumstances. Upon…

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Apr 30 2012

Laughter and stickiness

Two stories, both from my M-4 block today: ————— First, a story of laughter. During today’s intro to new material, R (the same R about whom I wrote a month ago) volunteered to read a word problem. The final sentence of the problem was, “Who was driving at a higher average speed?” Inexplicably, R read this…

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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 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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Jul 30 2011

Someday you will read this

Dear math superstars of room 313, Thank you for an amazing summer. Thank you for believing in me, in my collab, and most importantly, in yourselves. Thank you for showing up bright and early (most of the time) for summer school; for paying attention and wanting to learn, even when I failed to plan purposefully…

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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 09 2011

+s and Δs

Overheard during a CS session after the first day of teaching CM 1: “I’m not articulating myself very well right now, sorry.” CM 2: “I’m having a hard time understanding anything right now.” CM 1: “Well, this is a bad combination.” Week two of Institute–our first week of teaching–is officially over. Someone asked me to…

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