Milty Goes to Connecticut

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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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…

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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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Clearly I love a good oblique, incomprehensible reference. This post is about TFA 20th Anniversary Summit. Be patient; you have to get through the framing that occurs first. I’m not a teacher by trade. I wasn’t even an unemployed (-able) English major. My major is journalism. To me journalism is so much more than a…

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These are answers from the fill-in-the-blank section of the vocabulary final exam. Keep in mind that they were working with a word bank but still… 1. I need more time by myself for mutation. 2. Getting a tattoo is altruism. You will always have it. 3. Your bedroom is neat, tidy and zany. I didn’t…

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May 13 2010

Somewhat Unbelievable

My students don’t care about the achievement gap. I find this hard to believe that my minority students do not care that other minority students (and even they) are not succeeding. I find it impossible, in fact, to understand. The achievement gap is boring, I was told.

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Teaching with laryngitis. No kidding. It was basically the most complicated series of faux sign language ever performed. It involved a lot of arm waving and pointing. I also wrote a lot of signs on paper. Or used my kids like megaphones, whispering directions to the kid and having them say it outloud to the rest…

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The Mamas and the Papas were potentially right when they said that you can’t trust that day. Other days unable to be trusted include Sunday, at least this week. (I also maintain that Thursday is actually more untrustworthy than Friday. Students might be like horses toward the stable on Friday but they’re like belligerant mules…

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Feb 13 2010

Desperately Trying to Be Cool

Starting off I should say, I LOVE the new school. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t resent working hard and when I genuinely enjoyed being in the classroom as much as I do now. Of course, it’s not without problems. I had a kid blurt out, “Miss, do you have a thing…

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Jan 11 2010

the Blog is Back

Hello dear readers (both of you), Announcement time: I’m teaching again. I haven’t posted since my earlier announcement that I’m not teaching, mostly because I had nothing to say. I lived a happy, well-rested existence, trying to recover from the brain demon that stole my sanity earlier this year. Not much to report but, in…

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(quoted from Henry IV somewhat loosely) Very simple reason that I haven’t blogged in a while: I’m no longer a teacher. Or I’m not a teacher right now. This was initially as much of a surprise to me as it likely is to some other people reading this. About three weeks ago, Sept. 25 in…

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Have determined that my 8th graders are squirrels. They’re so cute when they’re small with their little fluffy tails, and it doesn’t seem so bad if they climb into the bird feeder a couple of times and toss out the millet. Unfortunately, that permissiveness means that they will eventually be impossible to deter. The squirrels…

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Sep 18 2009

Is it Really Week 5?

In some ways I feel like I’ve been at institute for YEARS. Every time someone calls me at 11:30 p.m. with an “emergency” sign issue I’m sitting staring at my e-mail (with a hyphen) for 2 hours waiting for clearance on something I have to say, “no, the package room is N116″ the fax machine…

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Sep 02 2009

the 8th Grade Hot Mess and Cupcakes

Okay, three days into year 5. (Have I really spent half a decade doing this…?) I have 8th grade at a freakin’ magnet school. They should be angels, right? They’re smarter than average, right? They value their education and don’t get involved in messy, unnecessary drama, right? Under normal circumstances, yes. In Hartford, no. Two…

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Jul 28 2009

A Word About Institute Crushes

So in the true spirit of Teach For America, we have an acronym for people upon whom you may develop a crush at institute, IC, short for institute crush. This is the guy whose eyes I catch across the library during a CS session. Or perhaps that guy that I see on the way to…

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[I apologize if I just killed German all by myself.] The advertising campaign for the Philadelphia tourist bureau right now is “With Love, Philadelphia.” They have all these dorky billboards with letters written by Philadelphia to the tourists. (Like this one that made me cringe because it sounds like me. Begins with “dear dahling.”) But…

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Jul 16 2009

Tiny Advice

Be kind to everyone all the time. You never know when you will end up working with someone who remembers something rude you said to them a year ago before you actually knew them. That is all. Yes, this really happened.

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Jul 05 2009

Institute Memes/Cliches

Because I’m a creeper, I was checking out other blogs from the Philly institute. Largely, everything said about institute ops was positive! I did notice, with no small amusement, that nearly every blog mentioned one or more of the following: “Alphabet soup” (RE: acronyms) Cultish conversations Composing complete sentences of nothing but acronyms then…

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So in the past three days, I’ve had an incredible time. I’m working the weirdest hours but jittery from near-constant caffeine consumption that I’m practically vibrating; I’m probably picking up the Drexel student station on my teeth. Number one amazing thing: Registration happened. All the CMs arrived. And I was beside myself! All that work; all those…

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Jun 21 2009

86 Hours

Yes, I worked 86 hours since arriving at the Philadelphia institute. I am tired but I am happy.

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Jun 19 2009

Return of the Fruit Thief

Things that I heard regarding institute from some CMs: I’d rather die than do institute again. Why do you want to go back? It was literally the worst thing that ever happened to me. It was like teacher boot camp. What I thought: For the love of three oranges, let’s stop talking about classroom management and…

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I had my end-of-year conversation with my program director, Courtney on Monday of last week. I made SOLID GAINS! It’s not quite the 80% holy-grail benchmark that I had set but HOLY COW! MY STUDENTS LEARNED SOMETHING!! My crazy, crazy students learned something. And really, what I find impressive more than the numbers is: Roberto,…

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Jun 07 2009

All Over But for the Shouting

The end-of-year stuff is making me exceptionally forgetful. Today I had to: Grade finals Finalize data Finalize my planning for next school year Finish/triple-check my end of year reflection Finalize my project plan for Philly institute Contact my Operations Coordinator for our first check-in Become slightly crazy, drink too much coffee and go cross-eyed It…

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May 14 2009

Had I Known

If I had known nearly four years ago that teaching would make me exhausted and sick, would I still have done it? Teaching has made me more determined than ever to figure out what will make it easier on teachers while still getting the results we seek. It’s insane to think burning out a new…

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Apr 06 2009

ODC and Other Acronyms

I just got back early this morning from the Operations Director Conference in Houston. It’s an interesting feeling to truly be on what amounts to a business-training trip. I’m calling it “The 48-hour MBA.” We talked Strategic Planning, Brand Recognition and Project Planning, Coordinator Management. All of this for summer institute in Philadelphia. I suddenly…

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

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