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May 14 2013

institute flashback

I was just looking through an old notebook of mine, and I came across this schedule I wrote out for myself: Daily Schedule 4:30 am get up/quiet time 5:30 breakfast 5:45 board bus 5:30 pm get back/gym/shower 6:30 dinner 7ish plan! BED BY 10:30  12:30

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May 09 2013

losing my grip

Transitions are rough, man. I’ve got 3 more weeks in Arkansas, and I feel like I’m slowly losing my mind. There are so many thoughts and feelings floating inside me and I can’t seem to identify all of them. Here are a few: -I feel like I’m losing my grip on my mind and my…

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Apr 16 2013

home stretch

I have five and a half weeks left of school, and six weeks left in Arkansas. Not much has changed since my last post. This year has been so very stable compared to last year — that’s why I haven’t posted a lot. I’m leaving. My town is polluted and I can’t afford to continue…

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Dec 21 2012

three fourths

As of today, I’m three fourths done with my TFA experience. I was just looking back at some of my older posts, and it’s hard to believe that it’s almost over. Two years is not a long time. I love teaching. I knew that before TFA, so TFA doesn’t get any credit for it. I’ve…

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Apr 23 2012

TFA’s myth of meritocracy

One of the biggest things TFA claims to fight against is the myth of meritocracy in the U.S.: the belief that anyone can be successful/climb the proverbial ladder if they only work hard enough, and that those who are not successful must be lazy and unmotivated.  This is a classist, very dangerous view, and TFA…

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Feb 09 2012


TFA has a few essential qualities that they look for in prospective CMs, and I memorized them when I was interviewing (yes, I did — see my “applying?” page for how ridiculously over-prepared I was for my interview).  I don’t remember them any more, but I think that TFA should definitely add resilience to its…

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Jul 10 2011

blogging before lesson-planning

Before I buckle down and catch up on lesson-planning, I thought I should blog.  So.  Week 4 of Institute was awesome — I definitely had some rocky days, but my teaching is really improving.  As usual, the week just flew by, and by the time Friday night came, I felt like I had been hit…

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Jul 05 2011

a little Tuesday inspiration

We received a copy of this poem today.  It was written by Elizabeth Ficken, who’s a 2011 CM at the ∆ Institute this summer! You will not tell me That my beautiful black beaming children Will not read You will not tell me That my beautiful black beaming children Will not write You will not…

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Jul 04 2011

weekends at Institute

We all re-charge in different ways, I guess, and that’s never been as evident to me as it has been at Institute.  I’m always shocked at just how useless I’ve been on the weekends here, at least for the first 24 hours.  I guess the weeks are so intense that the best I can do…

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Jun 28 2011

seems appropriate.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who…

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While I acknowledge that I have been drinking a lot of Kool Aid recently, and will say that this Institute experience has been preparing me for teaching, I can’t help but think that TFA is not preparing me as well as it could be to be a teacher in the fall. 1. we get unlimited…

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Jun 25 2011

long-awaited update

Well, not really that long-awaited.  But an update nonetheless.  So I just finished my second week of Institute and my first week of teaching! It was quite the week.  I don’t even know where to start. Let’s talk about sleep deprivation.  I used to think that people who were sleep-deprived at Institute either procrastinated on…

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Jun 19 2011

the dawn of Ms. S

Today marks the beginning of Week 2 of Institute.  In other words, we’re 20% done with Institute, and if you include Induction, 1/3 of the way with our summer TFA training!  That’s great! This week was really long.  But it was good, at the same time.  I learned SO much about lesson planning, classroom management,…

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I’m telling myself right now that this’ll be a short post, but, knowing me, it probably won’t. In the tradition of TFA, today was an incredibly long day — probably the heaviest one we’ve had so far, too.  We had multiple intense, 2-hour-plus sessions on lesson planning, classroom management, and investing students.  Just when we…

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Jun 13 2011

acronym overload

TFA is good at scheduling looooong days.  But, all things considered, I think I held up pretty well.  Want to hear about my day?  Sure you do. I always enjoy reading about “a day in the life” – I think it’s the most telling.  So here’s mine, for today.  It’ll be different every day, and…

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Jun 11 2011

Institute eve

Let’s talk about Induction first. Yesterday was the last day, and we had more sessions all day, then closing ceremonies (where we learned the Delta cheers!) and community dinners.  Our community dinner was absolutely incredible. It was at this gorgeous house with plenty of land, a wrap-around porch, a tree swing, and home-cooked food, so…

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Jun 09 2011

in the words of Demi Lovato…

“This is real, this is me, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be now…” I like that song — don’t judge me :). Today was Day 3 of 4 in Induction, and it was just as packed and amazing as all of the days so far have been. We had our “Hiring Faire” today, and…

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Jun 08 2011

Induction? Yes Ma’am!

The one word I’d use to describe my TFA experience so far is “intense”.  We had a LONG day today, with sessions from 8:30-6:30 with a half hour break for lunch.  They were all interesting and mostly discussion-based, but after awhile, it gets to you.  And one thing I learned for tomorrow: when you have…

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Jun 08 2011


(I wrote this yesterday) Day one. What to say? I checked out of my hotel, drove over to Delta State, and after a few misdirections and completely illegal U-turns, I found the building we were supposed to check in at. I went in and there were stations set up, each with different folders or envelopes…

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Jun 06 2011


I’m sitting by myself in a hotel in Cleveland, Mississippi, trying my best to prepare for Induction tomorrow.  I know this is the last chance I’ll have to relax before the weight of the next two years settles itself on my shoulders, and I’m making the most of it.  I left California six days ago,…

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Jun 04 2011

mid-year resolutions

I’m very into New Year’s Resolutions, and I thought that since my life is going to completely change in three days, I’d make a fresh set of resolutions, specifically tailored to my TFA experience. Without further ado, here they are: Don’t ever think about, talk about, or entertain the idea of quitting. Don’t expect to…

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May 31 2011

road trippin’

Day One of my 5-day road trip to the Delta: Done.  I’m sitting in a hotel in Winslow, Arizona, eating Milk Duds and watching Gilmore Girls, just TRYING to relax. I’m completely exhausted from spending all of last week packing, driving for 10 hours today, and the prospect of TFA! It’s been very emotionally draining…

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May 27 2011

goodness gracious

How did this happen so fast?! It’s a Friday night, and I leave for the Delta on Tuesday morning.  I only have three days left in So Cal, and then that’s it until Christmas.  I’ve been so busy getting ready and being excited that I haven’t really processed the sense of loss I’m feeling, however…

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I actually wrote “the Final Countdown” on the top of the May page of my calendar.  This is it – my last month as an early-20s college student. I’ve been reading Teach Like a Champion again, and I think it’s just amazing. I have my last day at work TOMORROW (surreal on so many levels),…

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Apr 27 2011

limbo – and not the fun kind.

I put in my two weeks’ notice at work today.  I have two more weeks of classes and one week of finals.  After that, there’s a whirlwind two weeks of traveling and packing and Target and In-n-Out and getting my kittehs updated on their shots, and then I’m done. Done and gone.  And starting the…

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"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