Teach Houston

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 22 2014


I’m in the middle of my first Teacher Summer, and it’s nothing like what I thought summer would be.

In the vacuum of school – no more planning, grading, texting my kids, etc. – I find myself aimless and restless. I miss my kiddos. I literally dream about them. Is that weird?


I’m spending this summer interning at a firm in the private, for-profit sector. I’m really grateful to have the chance to do something non-TFA, non-ed-reform with my summer, just to see what that world’s all about. And I’m scared to write about it too much on here. But suffice it to say…my heart belongs at my school, in the world of TFA/my district, and I’m happily headed back there in the fall.


In my weird limbic summertime I’m realizing lots of things about the way this year went:

1. I was not a transformational teacher.
2. I think I could potentially become one in about three more years.
3. I still don’t know how to push my kids towards loving reading.
4. I think I am getting a little closer to figuring it out.
5. I have far, far better friends here in Houston and at my school than I have ever realized, until this summer, when I’m not around them anymore (I travel for work four days a week).
6. The burnout in my life didn’t need to be that way. It was because I didn’t have systems and procedures for my school life.

Lots to consider going into next year.

I’ll be teaching the same thing – same grade, same subject, love that middle school English life – but a lot of things will be different. My rockstar co-planner/best school friend is moving on to a different school. My instructional coach, who sort of became my mom/sister/friend, is going back to the classroom – again, at a different school. My best grade level team friend is moving up to high school. But things change, and people change, and so it goes.


I went to a coffee shop today with my best friend from college and we ran into two 2014 corps members. It was strange. I almost didn’t know what to say to them. My life feels so different now than it did a year ago, when I was in the middle of Institute, and I don’t even know what to say to a teacher about to embark upon his/her first year.

Other than…it’s the ride of a lifetime.


To close this out, I wanted to share a line from one of the student surveys I finally read today. I’d been holding off on reading them for the longest time. In part because I was too sad the year was over, in part because I was nervous that a negative student comment would tarnish the admittedly over-romanticized view I have of the year.

This one made me cry.


Is there anything else you would like to say to Ms. _______?

I do honestly appreciate every sacrifice that you’ve made for us as students. I understand what kind of person you are and what you strive for in life, and that’s how I wish to be.


I have a job where things like this can happen. That is so beautiful.

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

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