River Deep, Mountain High

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 02 2011

Why So, Second Year?

I’ve had my eye on ¬†Teach For Us for over a year. As I left New England to start my first year of teaching in the Mississippi Delta last summer, I promised my friends and family I would keep them up-to-date through a blog. Unfortunately, my experience was not very conducive to periodic updates. After a few setbacks following Institute (two car accidents, new subject, new school), I became very distraught. Mistakenly, I eventually decided that the only way I would survive my first year was to “stop thinking for myself” and just go with the TFA flow, wherever that might take me. Bad move.

While ignoring my natural level of introspection, I cut off an obvious outlet for my many thoughts and reflections. I have no doubt doing this compounded my first-year frustrations, which did not help me become a better teacher or improve my students’ learning.¬†While home in Maine for a month, I decided not to make the same mistake(s) I made last year. It starts with this blog, named “River Deep, Mountain High” in an indirect reference to the Tina Turner classic. I’m proud to say that I liked this song before Glee put a spin on it- just sayin’. Among other allusions, it also speaks to my personal mission to lower barriers for my students so they can set and surpass high expectations.

One decision lingers, however, as I recognize how public this site is having read the Learning on the River blog, which is my aunt’s favorite. I’m deciding whether to maintain a separate, off-site blog to express my true “Delta Dissonance.” What I say here will be true as I’ve learned that false positivity is not beneficial; however, my purpose is to contribute a balanced view to the ongoing education reform discussion rather than solely vent about how tough it is to teach in the Mississippi Delta. I’m still deciding but as I return to planning, any advice would be appreciated!

One Response

  1. HollyM

    Tony, I’m inspired by your blog – just found it, and I look forward to reading about your adventures. Would love to catch up by email or phone of video Skype. Best wishes for a great school year.

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Remove Barriers, Raise the Bar

Mississippi Delta
Middle School

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