Stir Up the World

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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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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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 29 2012

night and day

This year is already SO much better.  For the most part, my students are SO much more well-behaved and I am SO much more confident.  I’ve got most of my year planned out, so I don’t have to worry about lesson-planning. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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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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Aug 17 2012

3 things

1) I’m back in Arkansas. 2) I’m stoked for year 2! 3) I’m worried that this whole year-two-being-so-much-better/you-being-so-much-better is a myth. That’s all for now.  I promise I’ll post more when I come up for air.

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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 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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Sep 06 2011

a day in the life

This week was pretty intense.  I’m not sure what to say.  I’m not sure if things are getting better or worse, but I’m slowly starting to get used to teaching. It’s easy for me to say what I need to change, and to make lists of things to tweak, but difficult to recognize what I’m…

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Aug 30 2011

Tuesday Tuesday Tuesday

Better day today.  I only have time for quotes, though.  Abraham Lincoln today, because I love him. “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”  -Abraham Lincoln also: “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I have a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” -Abraham…

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Aug 29 2011

above & beyond

Maybe some of the Kool-Aid is seeping in.  TFA definitely promotes going BEYOND above & beyond as a teacher in terms of the time you dedicate to your job.  That’s probably why so many CMs (and first-year teachers in general, probably) get so burned-out.  You hear these hero-worship stories about teachers who spend almost every…

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Aug 28 2011

goals for week 3

1. leave school by 5:30 pm every day 2. don’t get to school before 7 am every day.  I’m not very productive before school anyway. 3. go to the gym 3 times 4. avoid negative people and hang out with positive people 5. circulate when I teach 6. be stricter and more consistent with consequences…

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Aug 26 2011

“Ever forward, but slowly.”

Two weeks under my belt.  Woohoo! This week was, for the most part, better than last week.  I didn’t have any emotional breakdowns this week, and the positives outweighed the negatives every day, I think. The theme of this week was “My Kids Love Me And I Love Them, But Can I Teach Them Anything?”.…

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Aug 25 2011

the little things

Another pretty good day today.  I’m trying to be more consistent/fair in enforcing consequences.  Standing outside for bus duty from 3:15 to 4:00 isn’t very fun, but it’s fun talking to the kids.  I just LOVE my babies.  Even the ones that drive me nuts.  I have a few that I need to build a…

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Aug 24 2011


Second week is chugging along.  I’m incredibly busy, but I like it, I think.  I’m not nearly as efficient as I need to be.  It’s almost as if I expect to stay at school till 6:30 every night, and I fill those hours with what I need to do instead of getting the one hour’s…

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Aug 22 2011

sixth day

More positive than negative.  That’s the new way I’m going to frame my days now: I’m going to add up all of the positive things about the day and stack them against the negative. + I’m so busy during the week that I have less time to be lonely and homesick + 2 1/2 of…

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Aug 20 2011

first week

Woooooweee. Wow. It was pretty good, I think.  I’m wary of any success I think I’ve had, because I know this is apparently the “honeymoon period” with my kids. Monday through Wednesday you’ve all heard about, so I’ll start with Thursday.  Even days are my “harder” classes, so it was a more draining day anyway.…

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Aug 19 2011

fourth day

Gnarly.  Sometimes that’s the best word for something.  I’ll write more later, but now I have a quote: “Faith can no longer mean sitting still and waiting—they must rise and follow him. The disciples had to burn their boats and plunge into absolute insecurity in order to learn the demand and gift of Christ.” –…

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Aug 16 2011

second day & TFA fail

Today was just as long as yesterday, and definitely more challenging.  I had a class of 27, a class of 16, and a class of 2.  Still not as strenuous as 6 classes of 35, but 90 minutes is a long time with 7th graders. I didn’t have any kids that were outwardly defiant, but…

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Aug 15 2011

first day

I’ll start at the beginning. I didn’t go to bed early enough, so I woke up in a fog and stumbled around the kitchen thinking “Wait — Why do I want to be a teacher again?”.  You know I’m tired when I’m questioning wanting to be a teacher. I got to school around 6:30, and…

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rural Arkansas, eh?

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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