Milty Goes to Connecticut

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 15 2012

In Praise of Praise

One problem with young, talented teachers: Retention. It’s hard to get good teachers to stay in the classroom. (Part of this may be generational. Company loyalty is kind of an unknown concept to people my age.) Teach For America gets frequent harassment over the two-year commitment. I would point out, though, that the ability to “try out” teaching for two years probably results in more career-teachers from a pool of really smart people than would happen otherwise. Some folks bent on being bankers and business people discover in the course of their two years that they really love teaching, and they stay. But that’s not really what this post is about.
Teacher incentive programs seem to focus largely on financial incentives. Get your kids to score higher on tests; get more money, and other policies like this. I think it’s missing the point a little bit. Money is good, and I…

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Last night I gave testimony at our school’s charter renewal hearing. Some sub-committee on charters from the state department of education is trying to decide if they will allow us to keep operating. It’s maybe not as dire as it sounds; they will almost certainly renew the charter. It is now a question of the…

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Feb 16 2012

74 Days

Seventy-four days and my teaching career will be over. Out of the 1186 days that have already passed, it is but a wisp. About 740 hours left out of the approximately 10,000 hours that I will put in total. I haven’t decided how I feel. It’s almost like knowing which day you are going to…

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Feb 12 2012

Week of the Papercut

I appear to have been working in a paper factory this week. I amassed no fewer than four paper cuts in extremely inconvenient places on both hands – on my finger joints, right in the middle of the fleshy part of my hand, both thumbs, on my cuticles, etc. These aren’t ordinary slivers, either; these…

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Feb 03 2012

Chasing Cars

I told Facebook; now the only place left to tell is my blog, my sadly neglected little blog: I’ve been accepted to law school – UConn and University of Oklahoma. Everyone expects me to be overjoyed; I expected me to be overjoyed. But I feel like the dog who chases cars. He wouldn’t have any…

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Nov 09 2011

Carry Me, Connecticut

My desert-island song might be “Carry Me, Ohio” by Sun Kil Moon (aka Mark Kozelek); that is, the one song that I could potentially listen to for the rest of my life and nothing else. The song has these repetitive arpeggiated chords that give it a hypnotic quality, like train wheels on old tracks. The…

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Oct 26 2011

A Wall and a Panel

When TFA staff mention investment, it’s like everyone conjures this picture of himself, looking faraway and visionary while his students cheer and swoon.

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When I have told the new 2011 CMs that I just finished my 6th year in the classroom, I get these awed looks. I always feel slightly embarrassed by that reaction. If you’ve read Outliers by Gladwell, you’d understand my hesitation to let anyone call me an expert. Also, considering the number of subjects I’ve…

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May 18 2011


I’m approaching the end of my 6th year in the classroom. When I started this foray into k-12 education, I was 25-years-old, and I looked 18. I’m now 31, and by most indicators – car insurance premiums, rental agreements, loans – I’m really an adult. (Although M. Taylor swears I only look 26.) Now it…

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One interesting aspect of my job is that I serve kids with special needs at a college prep school. That doesn’t sound interesting, right? Consider for a moment that some of my kids have IQs below 70 or developmental delays that mean they might not ever read at grade level. Then consider that the mission…

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Charmingly (maybe) Existential (possible) Musings (read: rants) on My TFA Tenure

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