Stir Up the World

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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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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Oct 23 2012

what works for me

These are just things that happen to work for me; I’m not sure if they work for everyone or if it’s just my school and my kids, but here they are nonetheless: giving the kids a break. I have 90-minute blocks. 90 minutes is a long time. About halfway through class and/or when their eyes…

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Dec 17 2011

exit ticket

I only do exit tickets when I’m feeling really ambitious (read: almost never), but if TFA asked me to write an exit ticket showing what I’ve learned so far, this is what it would look like: You will spend money on your kids. This is a very expensive job.  I’ve bought everything from Twizzlers to…

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Dec 09 2011

ninety minutes

First of all, my favorite quote from the day: One of T’s classmates is bugging him. T: QUIT!!! Me: Never raise your voice to a lady – P: — or you won’t get one! Me: It’s good that you’ve realized that at a young age. My babies crack me up sometimes. Anyway, the current issue…

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Dec 07 2011

snooze button

I think I’ve hit the wall.  I’ve never been a snooze button kind of girl, but lately I’ve been doing the whole “just five more minutes” thing.  I get to school on average 25 minutes later than I have been.  The kids are done, and I’m done. I still enjoy my day-to-day classroom life, but…

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Nov 28 2011

telling the truth

I’m going to echo all of the recent posts and say that Thanksgiving break was GLORIOUS.  It was so nice to be home in sunny California and see my family for the first time since the end of May.  Coming back was very difficult, though.  It’s amazing how in one week you can forget all…

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Nov 16 2011

residual TFA guilt

One of the things I dislike about TFA is that it ALWAYS makes you feel like you’re not good enough.  I know I still suck as a teacher in many ways, but I am making progress and my administration keeps telling me how great of a job I’m doing.  And every time I have an interaction…

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Kids get crazy the week before holidays.  Even the kids that are normally angelic have been bickering, and some of my more difficult students have been well-behaved.  One week from today, I’ll be in California!!  I don’t know how I’ll react to seeing my friends and family, honestly.  I left my first-name self in California,…

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Nov 11 2011


We had Character Day at school today!  It was basically like a nerdy second Halloween, where everybody dressed up like a character from a book.  I dressed up as Susan Pevensie from the Chronicles of Narnia (bringing in the C.S. Lewis of course), and the responses I got from my kids were – ahem –…

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Nov 10 2011


I thought that it’d be easier to go to work every day as Thanksgiving got closer. Nope. It’s harder.

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Nov 09 2011


One year ago today, I said yes.  To TFA, that is.  And what a year it has been.  I already wrote a post about November 9, 2010, but I’ll copy-paste it here: November 9th, 2010. I had it colored in in pink in my planner, and I had written DAY OF RECKONING in huge letters…

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Nov 06 2011

out of the narrows

Things just got better, I think.  As I was driving home from school on Friday (at 6:45 pm, mind you), I had a lucid realization that things had gotten better. I was reminded of this quote from the Screwtape Letters: It always was like this.  All horrors have followed the same course, getting worse and…

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Oct 30 2011


One of the most wearying things about this year so far has been feeling like A. I have no idea what’s expected of me and B. I have no idea how to do my job. I find myself walking around being jealous of almost everyone else I come across, from the secretaries at school to…

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Oct 28 2011

it’s Friday

I wake up EVERY Friday morning with that wretched song stuck in my head!  I get to wear jeans to school, though, so it’s okay. School’s been going pretty well.  I still love my babies (for the most part), and I love my school.  We had a Scholastic Audit this week, though, so the entire…

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Oct 23 2011

almost there

28 days till Thanksgiving break. Not that I’m counting or anything!  Things are going well and all, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are in sight, and I’m starting to get cabin fever.  I always do this, and I’m not being too hard on myself about it :).  I’m taking a day to re-set procedures and expectations…

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Oct 18 2011

chuggin’ along

I only have the energy to do bullets today. I took my first “personal day” yesterday.  It wasn’t nearly long enough, but it was nice just the same. Today we had parent-teacher conferences, which were looooong.  I have this one mom who is infamous at our school, and she came and lectured me for a…

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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