Stir Up the World

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Oct 14 2012


School is still going unnaturally well, and I’m almost afraid to write about it for fear of jinxing it. I’m thinking a lot about next year. I want to keep teaching, but not here. Though TFA has disappointed/disgusted me in many ways, it has made me very employable. I have a nice little resume built…

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Oct 05 2012

read these. “Research by David Dinges at the University of Pennsylvania has found that adults need eight hours of sleep a night – we do not adapt. We just perform at a far lower level than if fully rested. And his research shows that if you have six hours of sleep a night for just…

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Oct 02 2012

what’s going on?

My kids are well-behaved. They actually sit there and do their work. When I have a test, they sit silently and work on the test. They’re not perfect, but for the most part my students respect me. I feel confident in my classroom. I’m not anxious about going to school. I don’t dread it. I…

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Sep 21 2012

the good

Contempt is a feeling I must never, ever have towards my students. One of my core beliefs as a teacher is that there is good in every student. Despite what I might think after bad days, no student is pure evil. If I’m fed up or personally insulted by a student, I can begin to…

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Sep 06 2012


How far can you go with student-led classrooms? I want to get the point where my students do most of the work in running class, almost to the point where they only need me there to plan the lessons and make sure they are doing things right. How much do students lead your classes, all…

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Aug 31 2012

I need them too.

My kids have SO much power over my life.  If I let them, they can totally ruin my day.  But the other side of it, the side that I’m starting to see this year, is that they can totally make my day too.  Sometimes I need them just as much as they need me. I…

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Aug 20 2012

second first day

Today went well, I think.  I am totally different, and I’m starting to understand this whole second-year-being-better thing.  I slept like a rock last night (I don’t know how, but I did), and woke up relatively alert this morning.  I got to school at around 7 and did the finishing touches on my classroom and…

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Aug 19 2012

the eve of year 2

I thought about doing a “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” parody, but that’s too much effort.  I’ve spent this weekend frantically getting ready for school to start, and thankfully, I’ve been completely numb.  Last year, I was in a flat panic.  I think I’m just extremely focused on tomorrow. I really think this year is…

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Oct 12 2011

new book

I borrowed this book from one of the other teachers and I was wondering: have any of you out there in cyberspace read it?

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Oct 09 2011

from this side of the summer

I was just reading over some of my old posts from January – June, and it was really bizarre.  I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how my life used to be before teaching, but this was one of those occasions. I remember being terrified of Institute.  Institute was not that bad. I…

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Oct 08 2011

8 weeks down

This week was pretty good.  I’m starting to become better friends with some of the other teachers, and things are going okay. As always, it’s really hard to focus on the good things I’m doing instead of the things I’m still bad at.  I had a “professional learning community” meeting this week, and my principal…

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Oct 03 2011

love wins.

“Everything becomes more and more itself. Here is joy that cannot be shaken. Our light can swallow up your darkness: but your darkness cannot now infect our light. No, no, no. Come to us. We will not go to you. Can you really have thought that love and joy would always be at the mercy…

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Oct 02 2011


That’s the best way to describe last week.  It was really intense. It started off pretty normal.  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were the usual routine. My roommate and I started training for our half-marathon this week, so waking up at 4:45 and dragging ourselves to the gym wasn’t fun.  But it’s nice to exercise and…

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Sep 28 2011

hard class

Was HARD today.  I wanted to cry.  I don’t know what it is about that particular group of students that makes them all crazy together.  What was good, though, was that I didn’t show my emotions (I don’t think), and I didn’t let it affect how I treated my next class.  I was calm, I…

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Sep 27 2011

story of my life

“Be not the slave of your own past — plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old.” -Emerson

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Sep 26 2011

six weeks

6 weeks down.  Where to even start?!  I think I’ll do bullets again: I’ve realized that I’m VERY reflective and solutions-oriented.  Annoyingly so.  I can’t state a problem without immediately going into “I just need to do _____” or “I should start ______”. constant teacher-parent communication is a good thing, but it can really backfire.…

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or Friday night as a first-year teacher.  Par-taaaay!

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Sep 21 2011

work/life balance

Yeah, it needs to start happening.  I need to start having a life outside of school, or else I’ll get burned out and stop liking my job and my kids. Reasons #6,353 – 6,355 why TFA makes this difficult: 6,353)  The only reason I’m in southern Arkansas is to be a teacher. 6,354)  My closest…

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Sep 19 2011

Friday night vs. Sunday night

There’s a HUGE difference in how I feel about teaching on Friday night vs. Sunday night. Friday night, I think about: -the good and bad that happened that week. -how much I love my kids and my school. -how much I enjoy working with the other teachers. -all of the relaxing and working I’m going…

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Sep 17 2011

five weeks down

Another week down.  Things are chugging along, and it’s really not that bad.  I think I’m doing well.  Teaching-wise, I know I’m going to suck at it for awhile, so I’m going to focus on creating a routine for myself and TAKING CARE OF MYSELF so that I still like teaching by the time I…

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Sep 13 2011

phrases of the day

alarm clock. cardigan. peanut butter toast. sunrise. copies. zen teacher. numb teacher. seating chart. filing. whiteboard. one-step equations. plotting points. sticky notes. behavior narration. Edline. pencils. SLANT. repeat. SLANT. repeat. SLANT. repeat. behavior narration. explain. music video. worksheet. “Math, Math, Baby”. directions. 60% compliance. 70 % compliance. 80 % compliance. 90 % compliance. 96 %…

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Sep 12 2011


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Sep 12 2011


Being a first-year teacher is weird.  You not only have no idea what you’re doing — you also have no idea how you’re doing as a teacher.  The learning curve is steep, and I have no idea where I am on it.  There are some days that I think I’m really doing okay, then some…

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Sep 08 2011

story of my life

“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.  God is awake.”  -Victor Hugo

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Sep 06 2011

so far

I should really spread out my blog posting instead of just waiting and waiting and then writing 3 posts in one night. Teaching so far hasn’t been easy, but it’s not the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I feel incredible support from my family and friends, and from my new friends here.  I’m tired of…

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rural Arkansas, eh?

Mississippi Delta
Middle School

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the title

"If one desires to 'stir up the world,' it is easy to be impatient with work for the sake of work. Yet no story's end can forsake its beginning and its middle." -Joshua Wolf Shank on Abraham Lincoln