Teach Houston

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
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.…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Dec 10 2013


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…

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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…

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

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