Break Every Yoke

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 08 2013

On being more like an elevator

I think I’ll write a quasi-continuation of my last post, in honor of my first snow day ever. (Thanks, Nemo!) Even as a second-year teacher, it’s easy to feel paralyzed by the sheer quantity of things I need to do. Adopting the Together Teacher system over the summer has helped a little, but there are…

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Jan 30 2013

On not feeling overwhelmed

The past two weeks have been intense. I’ve attended a TFA- or teaching-related meeting almost every day after school. The district replaced our principal with someone who has never worked in the building before. My formal evaluation was rescheduled twice, each time at the last minute. (It’s currently set for next Tuesday, but who knows what…

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Jan 21 2013

Mountaintop

Martin Luther King, Jr., the night before his assassination: Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter to me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life—longevity has its place. But…

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It’s often said that teaching has a steep learning curve. True, sort of. More precisely, teaching has a logarithmic learning curve—it’s steep at first but eventually flattens out. This has two implications: At the start of teaching, each unit of effort yields a leap in incremental effectiveness. You find a graphic organizer online that helps students keep track…

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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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Work Hard. Be Nice. brands itself as the story of “how two inspired teachers created the most promising schools in America.” Education-savvy readers will, of course, recognize the title as the trademark slogan of the Knowledge Is Power Program, better known as KIPP, which (according to Wikipedia) is the largest network of charter schools in the…

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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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Dec 18 2012

Give them their wings

Here’s a video for all teachers in need of inspiration as 2012 draws to a close. It’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful spoken word piece written by a TFA alum to highlight and contextualize the work of 12+, a non-profit that aims to make college accessible to students in inner-city Philadelphia. Also, if you like what they’re doing,…

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Dec 12 2012

An early Christmas miracle

T was one of my top students last year, and I am currently his mentor for a senior research paper. I recently found out that he spent much of his childhood in a Nepalese refugee camp, where he had no formal education and worked in a rat-infested restaurant to support himself. The following interaction took…

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About this Blog

New city, same vision

Region
Rhode Island
Grade
High School
Subject
Math

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