Stir Up the World

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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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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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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Jul 02 2011

Friday: update day, apparently!

Holy smokes what a week!  It just FLEW by, and before I knew it, it was Friday again. Let me just say, it was incredible.  I love being a teacher.  I’ve learned so much this week.  I adore my kids.  They’re “spirited”, to put it lightly, but I love them.  They’re just so funny, and…

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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 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 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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Feb 19 2011

the fun has arrived!!

My Big Box O’ Pre-Institute Work came in the mail today!  So exciting!  It included a copy of Teaching as Leadership, a big huge book of readings to do, an instruction booklet, and a DVD with all these cool video clips!  I know some people think it’s a chore, but compared to my homework for…

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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