Teach Houston

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 21 2014

life these days

Barely two weeks in, I can already tell that second semester is shaping up to be much more smooth than first semester.

I debated whether or not to go away for MLK Weekend but decided to stay home and relax, a decision that was completely cemented by the absolutely wonderful weekend I had. It had all the marks of someone who is finally settling in and figuring out her life. My roommates and I hosted a dinner party. I went country dancing. I watched the Houston Marathon with a close friend and got to cheer for my instructional coach. I went running in the perfect sunshine, I read books for fun, I did essentially no work except for a little bit today. I organized my bedroom. I had coffee with old college friends. It was honestly the first weekend I have felt like a real & whole person since before Institute.

I like the way it feels.


To Kill a Mockingbird is going quite well, except for our brief hiccup in class last week (Miss, is Scout a girl or a boy?). The weather has been gorgeous – 70 and sunny – so I’ve been letting the students group-read and do annotations outside on our central quad. They love it. We’ve gotten into several spirited discussions over race, class, and stereotypes. I still struggle to teach grammar in an authentic and sticky way, but I’m trying to work on what I can reasonably work on right now, and trust that the rest will work itself out in whatever timetable is meant to be.

I’ve heard spring goes by quickly. I can already tell. We have two rounds of district-wide assessments, STAAR (the state-wide assessment), spring trip, and Spring Break. Much of this time will be spent spiraling old skills and teaching closer/deeper reading. I’m excited.


Spring has come, and with it, there’s all the promise of new beginnings and rejuvenation. I didn’t realize how much the lack of sun had affected my mood right before Winter Break. There is sun every day now, and it’s beautiful.


Teacher moment from last week: a kid (A BOY, no less) cried – actual tears – during our creative writing circle meeting at lunch. He was moved by the story we read. Here’s a RadioLab version of the author reading it. And here’s the hard copy.


I don’t blame him. It makes me cry, every time, too. “I will tell you this, standing on our hill this morning I looked at the land we chose for ourselves, I saw a few green patches, and our sweet little shed, that same dog was barking, a storm was moving in. I did not think of heaven, but I saw that the clouds were beautiful, and I watched them cover the sun.”

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    Journeys, challenges, & writings of a first-year teacher.

    Middle School

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