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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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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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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Last year, the last period of every other day was small, and the students were mature, self-motivated, academically successful 12th graders. (Yes, I got very lucky with that class.) This year, my last period of the day is still small, but that’s where the similarities end. The students should be in 11th grade, but most…

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Oct 04 2012

Discoveries

Today, I discovered: One of my Algebra 1 kids is a Billboard-ranked pop artist. Another one of my Algebra 1 kids was kicked off public transit this morning for “talking too loud.” According to an eyewitness, the lady who complained about him was talking just as loudly, if not louder. (Said kid was also not…

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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…

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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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May 28 2012

Dear 2012 corps members,

I’m so glad that you’re joining the movement for educational equity. To tell you the truth, there’s a bit of an older-sibling syndrome within TFA, wherein previous corps years scoff at the apparent naivete of first-year CMs and grow somewhat envious of the attention that they receive. (I’m guilty of this myself.) Don’t let this…

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One of the nice things about approaching the end of the year is having the chance to read students’ farewells in my yearbook, which I purchased on a whim a week ago. These brief but heartfelt messages have affirmed my effectiveness as a teacher far more than any student achievement data or teacher evaluation, and…

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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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Feb 13 2012

Give grace to those who hear

I realize that it’s Monday, which means I’m breaking my firmly-established tradition of updating only on weekends, but this needs to be said. As a teacher, it is so easy to find things to complain about. The work day is too long. Lunch is too short. The copy machine never works. Certification coursework sucks. Administration…

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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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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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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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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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About this Blog

New city, same vision

Region
Rhode Island
Grade
High School
Subject
Math

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