River Deep, Mountain High

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Sep 10 2012

Class Backwards

I don’t know enough about the back story to comment on the strike in Chicago; however, I’ve been skimming articles on both sides of the picket line to get a balanced perspective of the situation. One TFA corps members has an insightful post concerning one school. All I can say is that low income students…

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Jul 15 2012

When You Fail To Plan…

“When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” While in college, I participated on a lot of student-run organizations from those dealing with leadership an public service to others focused on race and politics. I think it’s fair to state that I learned more from my experiences in these organizations than I gleaned from…

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It’s been a challenge finding time to blog as I make the transition from Mississippi to Massachusetts and attempt to settle in. I will catch up on my travels and new experiences soon, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a post I wrote for the ServiceNation blog exactly one year ago. This post…

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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 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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Feb 26 2012

Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m TFA

Sometimes, I get tired of feeling like a TFApologist. I get tired of being called an elitist money-grubber who’s trying to pay off my student loans off the backs of poor children- c’mon now. At the same time, there are many teachers who may not fit my demographic but who are doing great things in…

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Feb 22 2012

A Double-Edged Sword

It’s nice to be reminded that I’m a competent individual; especially in light of the many challenges a teacher faces in a rural, low-income area. At the same time, I wish there wasn’t an inverse relationship between praise for the teacher and kudos for the kids. According to conventional wisdom (in some crowds) charter schools…

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Jan 16 2012

MLK Musings

“It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life…we must remember that intelligence is not…

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Is TFA analogous to a Holiday Inn Express? I don’t think so personally, but we have to be cognizant of those who do believe that. One of the reasons I like blogging on Teach For Us is that in a small way, I get to participate in the larger conversation about education reform. At the…

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Jan 06 2012

Airplane Analogies

A random thought occurred to me as I sat there waiting for my connecting flight to depart from Atlanta over break: on a bad day, teaching is a lot like what I’d guess is the least favorite part of an airline attendants job: reading and modeling safety guidelines. Hear me out on this one. As…

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Dec 31 2011

Resolving to Reconnect

I’m not the New Year’s resolution type, but in 2012, I want to revisit one of the reasons I started blogging on Teach For Us, which was to stay in touch with family, friends, and mentors from my life. Blogging has been very cathartic for me, as it relieves the pressure of having dozens of…

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Oct 22 2011

It’s So Hard To Find Good Help These Days

Wendy Kopp struck a nerve with me when she claimed TFA had been successful because it spent 20 years proving that poor, black children could learn. I’m sure (hoping…) that she meant something else by that, but a society that needs 20 years and millions of dollars to believe these children can learn has another thing coming to it. I want my students to get in the habit of asking good, scientific questions; and I’m not talking about: “would you like fries with that?”

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Remove Barriers, Raise the Bar

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