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May 31 2012

Confidence Is Key

Perhaps the biggest challenge for incoming corps members to overcome is finding a balance between humility and self-confidence. Recognizing the limits of one’s teaching knowledge and knowing when to ask for help can make or break one’s first year. TFA recruits are generally good at what they do and have a more extensive history of…

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May 28 2012

Red Badge of Service

“He suddenly lost concern for himself, and forgot to look at a menacing fate. He became not a man but a member. He felt that something of which he was a part—a regiment, an army, a cause, or a country—was in a crisis. He was welded into a common personality which was dominated by a…

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May 26 2012

“I Won’t Let Them Ruin My Graduation”

[This is a backlogged post] My school had our Awards Day Program, which is an assembly to celebrate the successes of our students. Last year’s program was a terrible embarrassment for our school because two girls made the poor decision to fight in the middle of the program. Imagine 800 students packed in an auditorium;…

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May 22 2012

Paid My Dues

It’s official! I’ve paid my dues! No, this is not my obligatory end-of-the-year post… that comes later. I’m just excited that I finally paid off my Teach For America loan. Right on time too with two days of school left! In my opinion, the TFA criticism that irritates me most is the assumption that corps…

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May 20 2012

My Biggest Lessons from TFA

In the process of completing my end-of-the-year survey for Teach for America, I came across the following question and wanted to share my answer: “What are the two or three biggest lessons you’re taking away from your corps experience? These could be lessons about your students, yourself, the community where you work, the achievement gap…

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May 13 2012

Mother’s Love and Motivation

The past few days have been a whirlwind. After a three days of standing for four hours straight due to state testing, I was able to sit down and do some grading and TFA work on Friday at school while my kids entertained themselves by playing cooperative games or making Teacher Appreciation Week cards. It…

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May 10 2012

Testing 1, 2, 3!

Our state testing cycle, the MCT2 (Mississippi Curriculum Test 2nd Edition), is officially over! Not including the test for my class, the 60-question 8th grade science test taken last week, these three multiple-choice tests consisted of 43 language questions, 40 writing questions, and 60 math questions. Unsurprisingly, students struggle most with long reading passages; at…

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May 07 2012

The Wrong Race

It makes me so sick. To think no matter how quick. This race, we won’t win.   In my rest and relaxation following one of the last Monday’s of the school year, I sought to read some uplifting local news. I saw on Twitter a link to a track meet in Mississippi. As a former…

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May 06 2012

The Katch-22 of KIPP

Recently, a report came out claiming the KIPP charter network spends significantly more per pupil than comparable traditional district schools. The report is fairly straightforward but it’s conclusions highlight a disturbing paradox about the policy position a high-performing charter network such as  KIPP and Achievement First find themselves in: “These findings, coupled with evidence from…

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May 01 2012

This Is (Not) A Test!

Mariah Carey once sang, “if it’s over, please let me know” and I share her sentiments today. My 125 students took the 8th Grade Mississippi State Science today. It is a 60-question, multiple-choice exam consisting of questions from 30 objectives spanning Inquiry (Scientific Methods), Earth and Space Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. Since this…

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Remove Barriers, Raise the Bar

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Middle School

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May 2012
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