Stir Up the World

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jun 08 2013

done and done.

I’ve been home in California for about a week now, eating frozen yogurt and watching movies like it’s my job. I’m officially a Teach For America alumna. By an act of Providence, I got a job teaching 7th grade math in a small town in Colorado. I’m really excited — it’s absolutely perfect. This last…

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May 27 2013

read this book immediately.

It’s called The Defining Decade by Meg Jay. It’s really helpful, especially for those of us who are just finishing TFA.   Oh yeah, I’m done with TFA, by the way, as of Friday afternoon. I can’t even write about it yet — too much to process. I’m packing up, and leaving Arkansas on Wednesday. Wow.

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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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Feb 16 2013

can I afford to be a teacher?

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. Before I was in TFA, teaching was all I ever wanted to do. I absolutely love teaching. But as I look at my options for next year, I’m forced to think practically. Can I afford to continue teaching? Before I started teaching, I had no debt. I had…

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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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Dec 10 2012

hello again!

I’ve dropped off the planet. I’m sorry. This school year is going so remarkably well, and I make such a concentrated effort NOT to think about school outside of school, that I haven’t felt like blogging lately. Yes, second year is better. I really like my job now. I adore my kids. I’m looking at…

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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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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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Oct 05 2012

read these. “Research by David Dinges at the University of Pennsylvania has found that adults need eight hours of sleep a night – we do not adapt. We just perform at a far lower level than if fully rested. And his research shows that if you have six hours of sleep a night for just…

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Oct 02 2012

what’s going on?

My kids are well-behaved. They actually sit there and do their work. When I have a test, they sit silently and work on the test. They’re not perfect, but for the most part my students respect me. I feel confident in my classroom. I’m not anxious about going to school. I don’t dread it. I…

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Sep 23 2012

helpful for Sunday Syndrome

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is…

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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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Sep 06 2012


How far can you go with student-led classrooms? I want to get the point where my students do most of the work in running class, almost to the point where they only need me there to plan the lessons and make sure they are doing things right. How much do students lead your classes, all…

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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 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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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