A Mosaic In Progress

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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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…

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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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Sep 26 2012

Being an Instrument

I don’t think I have ever appreciated school breaks more until now as I am currently on fall break. The last couple of weeks at school were quite rough. It’s pretty obvious that classroom management is not one of my strong traits. It’s not that I’m too nice bur rather that I’m too slow. Misbehaviors…

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Sep 09 2012


I’m trying hard to post more than once a month but apparently it’s just normal for a teacher to always feel behind. As a result, I’m constantly asking myself, “How can I squeeze every minute to catch up?” Probably a bad question to ask myself since I know that immediately there are two possible answers.…

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Aug 17 2012

More Than a Teacher Voice

It’s been about two full weeks of teaching for me at my placement. If my calculations are correct, I have already spent more time teaching than I did my entire summer institute. The irony is that I probably have less confidence in my teaching abilities now than I did a couple short months ago. Of…

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Aug 10 2012

Keepin’ Young

It was the end of the first week of school at CCHS. I was really looking forward to catching up on some sleep as I was waiting to pick up Mr. D from the elementary school. As Mr. D climbed in the car, I made eye contact with another teacher. To be honest, I was…

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Jul 15 2012

“See you in New York City!”

When I last wrote about A, I mentioned that she was the target of some verbal abuse a couple weeks ago by her classmates. Things escalated the following Monday when I passed her by in the hallway being escorted by a fellow teacher. They headed to the Principal’s Office (not a good sign). Because she…

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Jun 29 2012

Everything Was Permissible

Very short, very skinny, glasses, braces, clothes that never quite fit me, a little awkward … to make a long story short I was the target of some ridicule in my teen years. Forgiveness was something I never quite understood but I am learning how to continually receive and practice it. Unfortunately, I probably would…

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Jun 23 2012

Mr. L … the Teacher

I am indeed a Christian. I believe in a very real God and that He loved me so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me in spite of my own selfish pursuits.  While I may interweave faith into my blog, I can assure you that my experiences are not unlike…

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Jun 07 2012

Welcome to TFA!

I realize that the last time I blogged I was in Benton Harbor fresh off a Calculus lesson … that I found poorly constructed since being here and going through observations. Thankfully, the students understood the concept behind it and were responsive but I’m looking forward to improving. But now I’ve been experiencing regret ……

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Apr 24 2012

“Calculus is easy!!!”

Last night, I was getting restless knowing that I would have to wake up and teach my first lesson ever from the role of a “math teacher.” Knowing that there were others praying and supporting me at church helped me to stay confident and just think about what I needed to get done. I kept…

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Apr 13 2012

Two Weeks Notice

My last remaining days at my soon-to-be former employer have been a blur. How did April get here so soon? It is hard to believe that I will be turning in my computer, gathering whatever mementos I have collected, and strolling out of the office on Friday. Since news of my resignation had apparently spread…

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

Mississippi Delta
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