The Learning Curve

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Nov 13 2012

On Sustainability.

It’s been so long since I’ve written, but that actually underscores the point of why I’m writing now: because, in terms of how busy I am from hour to hour and day to day, my responsibilities as a teacher have increased significantly! I barely have a free minute to myself anymore. Because I can’t really…

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Oct 04 2012

Evaluating Transitions and Performance.

I feel like I’m always beginning an entry with “It’s been a long time…” so without belaboring the point of my absence, I’ll just say it’s nice to check in. This entry marks the first entry of my 1st year at a new school. Last year’s adventures at my placement school in New Orleans East…

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Jul 01 2012

Year 2, Part 2, moving on.

Hey, so, remember this post? The title of which was, ‘Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. And you’ll be fine.”? How true it is! As I sat down tonight trying to consider what to write – what would aptly sum up my first year as a TFA corps member and my mindset going…

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May 01 2012

When hope is all you have… and it ain’t enough.

There were more violent incidences at my school today. 16 students were arrested. 15 for one incident, 1 for an unrelated incident shortly before. I’ve been reading the news stories and hearing outsiders analyze our school’s problems, sitting as they come up with nothing but euphemisms and platitudes. Even as an insider, it’s hard to…

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Apr 06 2012

making quilts from scraps.

I recognize it’s been so long since I’ve blogged that it’s probably more conducive to any real narrative to have a summary insert, but I can’t bring myself to do that. Suffice to say that time has passed, things have happened, and I’m still here. Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the school year…

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Hello, all. It’s been a while. My first day back teaching kiddos was this past Wednesday. The week went well, but was very exhausting. My school chose to focus solely on re-culturing our students, and I think that was a very good choice, but it was also very intensive. Anyhow, my new year’s resolution as…

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Dec 08 2011

The best of realizations.

Today, after yet another trying day at my school, I reached the (near) end and felt just as I usually feel at the end of a particularly long slog trying to get third graders to act like real, live, mini-people. My back hurt, my feet hurt, I was moving into unconsciously-rolling-my-eyes-at-everyone-for-everything territory rather swiftly, and…

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Nov 13 2011


This weekend was a (much needed) three day weekend, although by the time Sunday rolls around, the feeling is still the same: Do I have to go back to work? Really? I can’t say if it’s getting harder or easier. Honestly, it feels stagnant in a part of life that’s just enough this side of…

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The last month, especially the last week and a half, has been especially difficult for me. It’s been hard to go to work every day, to stay at work for the whole day, and come home to continue working. I haven’t seen a lot of progress and it was shutting me down mentally and emotionally…

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Oct 22 2011


That’s what I’ve written on all my lesson plans for the past two weeks. It’s been an uphill climb in every way. It is a rough realization, recognizing that you’re not being the best that you can be. It feels like a slap in the face, a crippling disappointment, a brick wall too high. I…

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This week my Proudest Mama moment came when I casually asked my students why I time absolutely everything we do in class, including our bathroom and water breaks and game times and how long it takes to turn things in. I didn’t have a plan to ask this, I just wanted to make sure they…

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Sep 06 2011

Project: Head Above Water.

I am trying my best. That’s what I keep telling myself, that I am trying my best, that I am surviving, that I am making gains, that things are never as bad as they seem, that it will get better and that eventually it’ll all be a collection of funny stories about my first semester…

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Aug 28 2011

Watch the… whiteboard?

Disclaimer: some people who read this blog will probably not want to follow the links provided, just fyi. If you don’t like hip-hop, I’d leave it alone. Earlier today on facebook, I posted a status about listening to “Watch the Throne” while lesson planning… and how it makes me feel like a superhuman teacher who…

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Aug 25 2011

Still wouldn’t trade it…

…although you should ask me come October. I guess you know you’re in the right place when things go terribly but you still want to keep your job. Today my class was completely out of pocket and then my school had two (then four) simultaneous fights break out. My school is K-12, so even though…

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Aug 23 2011

On the sunny side…

I’ve yet to stop believing that it gets better.

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Aug 16 2011

Out the box

During the summer, when Institute was eating my life, I was worried about my ability to keep up with regular postings. I really want to regularly post here, not just to update my friends on how and what I am doing, but also because writing helps me to de-stress. Looks like I’ve got nothing to…

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Aug 15 2011

Many the miles…

I should be planning. Actually, I should be asleep. I’m beyond tired, and I’m not even close to finished for my plan for tomorrow, let alone the rest of the week. There is always going to be so much to do. I want so much for my students. Our first lesson was to be on…

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Aug 10 2011

The First Day… Come and Gone.

Today was the first day of school. It was definitely chaotic, as the last few weeks have been, but it was so good to have my students in front of me and finally be able to articulate to them what we are going to do as a class this year. It was by no means…

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Jul 29 2011

Long overdue

I am happily back in NOLA! Institute ended, and I survived. (Not with a bang, but a whimper, admittedly.) In the interim, I returned back to the city, lived in Tulane’s illustrious dorms for a little over a week and then found a house with my two lovely roommates. It’s a beautiful house and we…

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This week was the first week of classes led by CMs. It was very hectic, because we still have tons of sessions to get through and lessons to plan and ways to improve, edit, tweak and repeat. All in all, it’s gone pretty well. My collab (group of 4 total co-teachers in a given classroom)…

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Jun 11 2011

Breathing room.

This week was… kind of a nightmare. It was the boot camp week, the first week of Institute where TFA has to make sure you know what’s running the show and that you can adapt as necessary. It was a bit rough, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was the overload…

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Jun 02 2011


I found out last night, shortly after publishing the last entry, that I was hired as an elementary teacher at a school that I’m really excited about. I don’t know very many details just yet, but it’s very exciting to have been placed and hired in my preferred content area. I’m going to keep any…

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Jun 02 2011

Round and round.

It has been such a busy time since I last posted. I got to New Orleans in a stressful haze. I was behind the time I said I’d be there – which at first was addressed as if it were high treason, until they realized it was logistically outside of my control and came back…

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May 25 2011

…And I thought I was busy before.

I am down to my last week in the great old state of Texas. It’s a lot of things, most especially bittersweet. I am excited about new opportunities, and a new city and state, but it ‘s hard to leave behind a place that’s been such a formidable backdrop to all of your major life…

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Apr 25 2011

Trying to find a balance.

Since getting into TFA, my life has become anything but simple and easy. I barely had time to submit my commitment confirmation before I was called 8 times by 6 different people about being in the program, moving to New Orleans, and the greatness of the commitment I had just made. And then there were…

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