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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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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Feb 28 2012

the three-week mark

Just FYI, about three weeks before any school break, the kids get squirrily.  Or continue to be squirrely.  Or intensify in squirrely-ness.  They’re done, I’m done, we’re all done.  I have 12 more school days.

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Jan 02 2012


I love this poem this time of year! “Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light; The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going,…

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Well, here I stand, 4 days before the beginning of spring semester and recently returned from 9 glorious days in California.  The time with my family was glorious, as always, and I didn’t really do much. I had a head cold the entire time, so it was a nice excuse to lay around as much…

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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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I’ve felt so completely overwhelmed for the last few weeks that I’ve lost most of my ability to FEEL anything.  If I had stressed out over everything there is to stress out over, then my head would have exploded by now.  I simply don’t have the emotional capacity to feel any more stress.  It’s probably…

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If you could go back to a week before your first year of teaching, what would you be doing during that last week? What’s the baseline of stuff I should have done before school starts?

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Aug 07 2011

BOSU balls and mattresses

Moving across the country to a place you’ve never been before, starting a job you’ve never done before, and living in a community where you don’t know anybody is a bit like standing on a BOSU exercise ball.  Since the photo uploader thingy isn’t working, all I can do is describe what a BOSU ball…

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Jul 31 2011

sphere of influence, man.

I love my new town.  But I’ve definitely seen a lot of things that are deeply unsettling to me.  I have to realize, though, that: 1. I have absolutely no right to judge. 2. It’s not my job to change these people. My job is my classroom, and that’s what I can control.  I can…

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Jul 30 2011


That’s the best word to describe me right now.  I got back from Math Pilot Orientation on Tuesday night, and since then I’ve been completely overwhelmed with all of the work I have to do.  I don’t have the energy to do a cohesive blog entry, so I’m going to do bullets. I’ve been spending…

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Jul 22 2011

new in town

I’m finishing up my fourth whole day in my new house in Arkansas, and it’s been quite a week. I still vacillate between cautious excitement and overwhelming anxiety, and the lack of structure hasn’t helped.  Our whole summer was so hyperstructured that we didn’t have the chance to really feel too much, and that helped…

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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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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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Apr 06 2011

B’s get degrees

Disclaimer: I love school.  Normally. This is probably a horrible thing for a future teacher to be feeling, but lately going to class has become EXCRUCIATING.  It’s just that what I’m learning in class, while amusing and possibly informative, has absolutely no bearing on my future life. In my science fiction class today we spent…

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Mar 28 2011

mah kittehs

I have two cats – I adopted them separately in the last year – they kind of came into my life on their own.  I’m well on my way to becoming a crazy cat lady!!   They’re semi-outdoor cats (in at night) and fairly independent.  My family loves them and is quite willing to take…

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Mar 14 2011


I was so productive today!  I: 1. went to work and earned the money to pay for fingerprints 2. drove down to Irvine to get my fingerprints taken 3. on the way back, got a money order at the grocery store AND 4. mailed my fingerprints in! Now it’s 5:27 pm and I don’t feel…

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I haven’t posted in awhile, and I want to make a point of not dropping off the face of the earth with this blog.  I thought about TFA almost every waking moment of every day for months, and I think I finally couldn’t think about it any more and decided to focus on my life…

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Feb 08 2011


Well, I officially passed the Praxis II, aka Math Death Test!!  Granted, my score was about 68%, but it counts in Mississippi!  Good enough for me!! I had been saving my gigantic stack of flashcards I made in preparation for the test, and it was SO nice to be able to throw those away! I…

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Feb 06 2011

three books

Important Disclaimer:  I’m not a teacher yet, so I haven’t actually tried any of the advice or techniques given in these books. Out of all of the teaching books I’ve read over the last 8 months or so, three have really stood out as incredibly practical, realistic, and most important – helpful. 1. Beyond Survival…

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Feb 01 2011

welcome to the planet

Two cool things happened today: 1. All of the teaching books I ordered on, PLUS my Abraham Lincoln poster, came in the mail today!  My brother texted me saying “you got a ton of packages in the mail”, and I opened the front door to 6 different-shaped cardboard boxes!  It was like Christmas morning…

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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