Teach Houston

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › Teach For America

Nov 28 2014

things change.

The past few weeks have been full of upheaval; for someone who hates change as much as I do, I’ve struggled to remain positive in the face of so much transition. I suppose some of this is to be expected. In some ways, what I had last year – mentors everywhere, a close and well-defined…

read more »
Nov 16 2014

I believe in all things.

It’s been a while. This site’s gone through some ups and downs, and of course, Teacher October – though better this time around – kicked me while I was down. I don’t know how to sum up this second year; it seems like everything – from my students to my campus to even myself –…

read more »
Sep 01 2014

it’s official: I’m teaching a third year

Just turned down a $75k/year job offer to teach a third year because I love what I do and I’m not finished yet. I once heard a clip of a commencement speech, delivered at MIT a few years ago by one of the founders of Dropbox. He talked about the idea of the tennis ball. and how…

read more »
Aug 06 2014

the second year begins.

And so it goes.   I’m not really sure where to begin. It’s been a whirlwind of a week; last week, in the span of 24 hours, I tried to gracefully transition from corporate/private sector life back to school life. It was a little rough. I spent two days in content leadership training, then headed…

read more »
Jul 19 2014

the end of summer…

…and with it, a deep sense of reflection, purpose, wistfulness. In some ways I’ll miss these summer days. Free from the anxiety of evaluation and teaching, I think I bloomed a little this summer, reclaiming parts of myself that had long been forgotten in the tumult of first-year-teaching. it’ll be hard to leave this life.…

read more »
Jun 22 2014

summer.

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…

read more »
Jun 03 2014

the end of my first year.

I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been too busy living my life rather than writing about it, I suppose, and in some ways, the feelings that the end of the year brings are just too big to be put into words. The past month’s been full of full-hearted moments. Times when life is just…

read more »
Apr 26 2014

STAAR results & moving on.

We got our STAAR results back! Of the 85 students I teach, 6 failed (though they are the hardest-working and more incredible students know), meaning 93% of my kiddos passed. I cried of happiness and relief and freedom when I opened the email in the teacher’s lounge one sunny afternoon last week. And then minutes…

read more »
Mar 30 2014

on re-hitting my stride

Spring has come and, with it, all the promise of finishing this year out strong. In a strange way, it feels like some things have already come to an end. We had our last district-wide 8th grade English day and, after hours of reflection and planning and best practices for next year, I walked into…

read more »

Tomorrow is our first day back to school after Spring Break. There are a host of memorial activities scheduled for this week & this weekend; I headed back to school today to make some copies and was struck by how just being there reminded me of the overwhelming sadness we faced just two weeks ago.…

read more »

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Impostor Syndrome that received lots of great comments and feedback (yes – I read every comment and really do think about what you all have to say). You asked solid questions and nudged me in just the right ways. Thank you all. I wanted to revisit this…

read more »
Mar 12 2014

death hits home.

A student at my school passed away last night. It was unexpected – a tragic accident, horrendous in that other children saw it and tried to save his life – and yet it happened, and the dawn broke, and the sun rose and we all went to school. The day itself was agonizing. My students…

read more »

I haven’t written on here in a while. That’s been on purpose. To be honest, I’ve been struggling. Not instruction-wise or evaluation-wise; more on that later. I’ve been struggling with anxiety and self-esteem issues. I’ve been struggling to believe I am actually good at this. And despite the fact that I’m on track to skip…

read more »
Feb 10 2014

fear itself

As I watched one of the US Olympic figure skaters give her post-routine interview, her words struck me. “I used to be scared. But once I let go of that fear, I really fell in love with this sport.” I’m usually not one for over-analyzing already over-analyzed sport metaphors but something about that idea struck…

read more »
Feb 07 2014

One Hundred Days

Yesterday marked a rather poetic benchmark in my first year. It was the 100th day of school, and also 100 days until the current seniors at my university will graduate. I remember this day a year ago – I hadn’t even interviewed at my current school district yet – and though it was only a…

read more »
Jan 25 2014

How does grit predict teacher retention?

A few days ago, I had the privilege of hearing Angela Duckworth give an hourlong lecture as part of her visit to Houston. A full auditorium’s worth of people braved Snowpocalypse 2014  (yes, Northerners, feel free to judge away) to hear Duckworth’s presentation on the psychology of grit and self-control. Numerous school districts, newspapers, blogs, etc.…

read more »
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…

read more »

As many of you may have gathered from my previous, just-as-impassioned posts on the subject, I am very wary of (borderline dislike) guided notes. That’s a big statement, so I’ll qualify it. I’m wary of their overuse in my school and in the unique teaching situation I’m in. My eighth-graders, some of whom read at…

read more »
Jan 09 2014

a change is gonna come.

A new semester. I stepped in my classroom on Tuesday for the first time in two weeks. I inhaled the Glade air freshener scent (“Aw MISS, why your room always be smellin’ like TREES?”) and breathed in the feeling of new.  This break was all that I needed and so much more, days spent in…

read more »
Dec 26 2013

some thoughts as of late

1. I think I want to be a CMA at Houston Institute. Not now. Eventually. Can I do this even if I still struggle with the philosophy behind some parts of Institute? Can I do this at all? Things to consider. 2. If I want to survive this upcoming semester/be a real person I need…

read more »
Dec 24 2013

snapshot of a non-teacher life

The air is sticky, with salt from the Gulf of Mexico and the slightest hint of the smell of raw fish. There’s a sea breeze today – the kind that nestles deep in your bones – and some stray palm fronds float down to settle alongside the road. I drive and drive and drive. Past…

read more »
Dec 20 2013

the end of semester one.

With that, my last day as a teacher in 2013 is over. I’ve given kids holiday cards and cleaned my room and supervised the cleaning of lockers and been the loving & grateful recipient of so. many. Christmas. cookies. Today was, like many of the “last days” in my own high school, wonderful. Calm and…

read more »

2.6. The average number of years a teacher spends at my school. Most teachers stay either two or three years, and the ones who stay longer tend to move into administrative positions. There are the rockstars of course – the ones who are there for six or eight or ten years. But the majority come…

read more »
Dec 10 2013

burnout

I knew this time would come, and now that it’s here, I just feel a little resigned to the long grind that is burnout. I’ve been talking about this a lot lately. Emotional labor. Constant stress/anxiety. High stakes all the time. No excuses. Ed reform is notorious for producing “burnout factories” and I feel like…

read more »
Dec 02 2013

on vulnerability.

C.S. Lewis says that to love at all is to be vulnerable, and though I certainly have felt that in areas of my before-I-was-a-teacher life, I never realized how much teaching and vulnerability are inextricably tied. It’s easy to look at this idea and think – breakups. Thanksgiving. Prayer. Religion. Best friends. But when I…

read more »

About this Blog

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

Region
Houston
Grade
Middle School

Subscribe to this blog (feed)


Archives