A Mosaic In Progress

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 09 2013

Slate Magazine Article

At the end of the school day, I received an e-mail from AK directing me to a Slate Magazine article entitled “Why I Stopped Writing Recommendation Letters for Teach For America.”  I had some immediate reactions and I’ll try to keep it brief.
1) Hopefully my peers in the Delta would agree that education policy and the way schools are run are different in rural areas than in cities like Oakland, Chicago, etc. However, some of the criticisms I see here are being portrayed as if it’s happening on all fronts when, in all actuality, these may only apply to select areas. If you ask any corps member in the Delta why they chose to teach, I doubt anyone would say “to rid communities of veteran teachers.” In fact, veteran teachers are why we are successful.
2) Let’s be honest. There are some things that you just cannot expect until you teach.…

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Sep 02 2013

Ignoring the Colored Post-its

Back in May last year, I got to observe three different teachers in three different schools as part of my institute pre-work. Prior to summer institute, corps members are given a set of tasks and articles that they must complete in order to increase awareness of their assigned region and investigate what successful teachers do.…

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Aug 24 2013

Finding “Me” in the Classroom

I really missed my kids over the summer. I was cussed out a handful of times and even yelled at by students who formed a special relationship with me. Of course, I did my fair share of yelling back at them too. The students also didn’t really treat each other with respect at all times.…

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May 19 2013

Mo Cheeks in My Classroom

On August 2nd, 2006 before tip-off of an NBA game, Natalie Gilbert was scheduled to sing the national anthem. She had the flu that day but she still decided to sing before the Blazers and Mavericks played to determine who would advance to the Western Conference Semifinals. The anthem began and it seemed like all…

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May 10 2013

Facebook Prank Litmus Test

If given the opportunity, would a student hack a teacher’s Facebook profile? The normal Monday morning routine usually begins like this for my 7th graders. Me -> “Good morning class! Happy Monday-” Random Student -> “BOOOO! It’s not a Happy Monday!” or “Whatever Mr. E” It’s also obvious that they are looking to the end…

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Mar 30 2013

Dear Stanford

Dear Admissions Officer at Stanford University – I noticed that in this year’s application to the Graduate School of Business you ask, “What matters to you most?” It’s a hard question for me to answer but I would like to address the question on behalf of one of my students, TS. He is a 7th…

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Feb 11 2013

I Wanted to Quit

To assuage any worries out there, I have no intention of quitting. I am committed to this job and I really do love my kids. If you read the TeachForUs blogs often, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that this job is very difficult. I guess the one thing that I haven’t gotten use to…

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Jan 04 2013

“I Want to Go to Duke”

I’ll be the first to admit that I probably let my kids get away with more than what is advised to any teacher. I don’t mean that I let them get away with cheating or fighting but the “white noise,” an extra bathroom break, or periodic episodes of shenanigans … yeah that happens in my…

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It was bittersweet to find a note on the back of one of my finals saying, “We love you, Mr. L!” I had the chance to start reflecting on my first semester as a teacher during my long drive back to Indiana … eight hours of flat road! These were the moments that stuck with…

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Nov 17 2012

Indiana Retreat

Not sure how to describe the feeling of lying on my couch back in Indiana curled up in a blanket while watching football and sipping on a coffee with a splash of Bailey’s. It’s been almost six months since I returned to Indiana … the longest that I have been away from home. I am…

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Midwesterner being thankful for every written experience … even when it hurts =)

Mississippi Delta
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