Learning As Leadership

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 04 2013

TFA is a Tiny Dot Behind Me

I can hardly believe this, but tomorrow I begin my fourth year of teaching. FOURTH YEAR. I really never dreamed I would be here.
It feels good to say I’ve made it this far, and only partly because of all the smug TFA nay-sayers who claim that TFA teachers use TFA to get ahead, or who say TFA teachers don’t care, or teach temporarily. I am a real teacher. I always was, but I feel even more so now.
The main reason it feels good to be going into my fourth year is because teaching kicks ass. Teaching is so much more fun now. I’m much more confident, love my job more, love my kids more, and have better balance in my life. I still have a LOT to learn, and sometimes shake my head in disbelief at how little TFA prepared me for the reality of teaching, but I’m nowhere near…

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First of all, congratulations! Yay! You’re probably having very mixed feelings right now. On one hand, you’re like, YAY!, I got into TFA. Then you saw that you got, like, your 10th choice for placement, Saint Louis (a.k.a. St. Louis, STL, HuSTLe City, The Lou). Just kidding. I’m sure you ranked us number one. Well,…

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May 11 2012

A Charming Third Time

So let’s hope I’m better at teaching than I am at blogging about teaching. There’s so much I wish I could have blogged about over the past few years, but I live in fear of saying the wrong thing, and it’s been better to just stay quiet than to risk the consequences of being honest.…

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1. No matter how hot I think an outfit looks on me, at least ONE kid will ask me if I’m pregnant. 2. No matter how infrequently I sit down, the principal or superintendent will walk into my room during the only two seconds I sit down all semester. 3.  No matter how awesome I…

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Jan 03 2012


I’ve been full of anxiety through most of Winter Break. I never stopped thinking about school the entire time, and my standard “Sunday night woes” hit me hardcore on New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year? We go back tomorrow for a teacher work day, and then get our kids Wednesday. I feel like I just…

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Dec 26 2011

When You’re Hardest Hit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit. Life is queer…

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Dec 10 2011

Teacher Charades

In my tutoring group on Friday, I let students play an improv game, which is basically just a fancy way of saying we played charades. My incredibly talented students blew through the words in twice the speed I anticipated. Their acting and creativity was amazing, and they instantly guessed things I thought would take them…

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Oct 29 2011

Shared Vision

I would like to share with you something my students wrote. A few weeks ago we had a really bad day at school. There were so many fights at school, and a guest speaker at school told students he almost refused to come because of the horrible reputation our students have. On Friday, there were…

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Oct 29 2011

We have to WORK???

But Ms. W., why do we have to do work? We never do work on… the first day of school the last day of school any day after the MAP test, which occurs in April Fridays days we have subs when a teacher is absent on days when there is a schedule change on days…

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Oct 29 2011

Update: The Reason

No, he has not come to tutoring. Or my class. Ever. I have nightmares about him at least once a week. Every time I see him we have great one-on-ones. We set small goals. I ask him a lot of questions. I see him around the neighborhood. He comes to school. But he doesn’t make…

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a Teach For America teacher’s blog

St. Louis
Middle School

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