The MEGnitude of Change

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Mar 05 2014

Breaking the Silence around Sexual Harassment/Abuse

A male student calls another female student “fat” in the hallway between classes. A rumor is spread about incriminating pictures of a classmate sweeping through school through Instagram. A male student calls his teacher “sweetheart.” A staff member squeezes the shoulder of a colleague in the hallway. This weekend, I reconnected with my passion: advocating…

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Sep 20 2013

Hours

Being good takes time. How much time? According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes (on average) 10,000 hours to become proficient at any talent — playing chess, cooking, and yes, teaching. Admittedly, I haven’t read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, but I would have to agree with this general concept. When we decide to master something, we simply…

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Aug 28 2013

Silence is golden

Let’s take my silence in the blogging world as a good thing. Why? Because it means my life as a teacher is starting to feel ordinary, rather than some two-year experience worthy of recording. Each day is filled with stories, both positive and negative, challenging and validating, but I no longer feel the all-consuming need…

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Jun 20 2013

This man is on fire.

This poem has been rattling through my brain all week. Still processing, but wanted to share. (Explicit content has been edited out, but there’s still some in the comments.)

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Jun 18 2013

One.

This entry marks my first piece of writing on race & racial identity, as inspired by Alysia Harris and the Not Dalton’s Kids Project. When I was in seventh grade, my energetic history teacher bravely chose to tackle a new topic in her classroom full of homogenous, upper-class students: diversity. She explained the concept of…

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Jun 10 2013

Our endings punctuated by others’ beginnings

This afternoon, as I browsed the Oklahoma section of the TeachForUs website, I found my feelings summarized in two consecutive blog posts: one entitled “Aaaaaaand it is over.” and another entitled “And so it begins!” This past week, I lived in Induction Limbo. My surroundings were familiar: the OCU dining hall, the OKC Bombing Memorial,…

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May 23 2013

“Solve your own problems.”

Today, my classroom was exceptional. I spoke for a grand total of 3 mintues in each class. I had no new assignments. I gave no new lessons. I made no copies. I did nothing. Instead, my kids did the work. They sat down, held individual conferences about grades, and got to work on their final…

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May 22 2013

In other news…

Reading through my blog, I have also come to a wonderful realization: that this blog doesn’t contain all of the important turning points in my life from this semester. That there are chapters & plotlines that exist outside of the confines of this screen — ups and downs alike. Why is this such a wonderful…

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May 22 2013

Why I Came to School Today

Today has been far from perfect. The last few weeks have been far from perfect. Some mornings, it can be tough to remember why we’re all still coming in each day, especially now that testing is over. But there are a few moments — moments when I know that what I’m doing counts — that I want…

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May 13 2013

This post will change your life.

THIS BLOG POST WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Really. This relevation is earth-shattering, so be prepared. Take a breath. Get ready to have your perspective shifted forever. It all starts with a little something I like to call “megossip.” What is this term, you may ask? As defined by the Bainbridge-Ward Dictionary*, “megossip” is “(n.) information…

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May 13 2013

Checking Myself

“Leave your baggage at the door.” The past few weeks have been grueling for me — professionally and personally. I have been stuck in limbo, frozen just like the computers that my kids have tested on. As EOIs approached, I entered “triage mode,” prioritizing what was most important for my kids to succeed academically and…

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May 01 2013

Endurance

On Monday, we tested. I has expected this day to be full of emotion — victory and disappointment and uncertainty and hope. I had expected this day to be a moment of truth, for me and for my students. It was a victory lap, an unexpected success, a wake-up call, and a hopeful sign of…

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Apr 24 2013

Pushing through the finish line

BIG NEWS. Our geometry test, scheduled for Friday 4/19, was pushed back to Monday 4/29. With this switch comes a major shift in review strategy & motivational gameplan — how do I keep my kids going for another week, when so many of them were ready to take the test on Friday? This past week…

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Apr 12 2013

Passing the baton

My pre-calc class saved me yesterday, without a doubt. My lesson wasn’t as air-tight as I had hoped it would be, but my students were awake & alive & ready to learn. They were interested (& hard-working, even?) – asking about the reasons behind the math, not just copying down formulas & getting to the work. We let…

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Apr 01 2013

What price are we paying?

Sprinting. As teachers, that’s what we do 70% of our days. But at what cost? This weekend, I stumbled upon my reflection not in a mirror but in a New York Times article. What were these words of wisdom that sent my brain into overdrive? “He noticed that when I was anxious about something, I…

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Mar 29 2013

Are you afraid?

Ever since I became a teacher, I’ve started answering a lot of questions. My students ask me questions about my math objectives, my friends ask me questions about my social life, and my family asks me questions about my well-being. But on Wednesday night, at a dinner with TFA donors, I was asked a question I wasn’t fully prepared…

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Mar 18 2013

FUN-tersession?

“I’m glad I came — intersession’s been a lot of fun.” Over this past week, my friends were exploring the streets of San Francisco and snowboarding along the Pennsylvania mountains. I, on the other hand, was still waking up before the sun rises and trudging with sleepy feet into John Marshall, spilling coffee onto my…

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MY KIDS ARE INCREDIBLE. – While teaching 30+ middle schoolers, I had five high school “TA’s.” They circulated around the room, answered questions, and then taught the end part of the lesson in smaller groups. Thanks to them, the kids were able to grasp onto the material and work at a pace that matched their…

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Mar 11 2013

What does it mean to be a woman?

What does it mean to be a woman — a strong, successful, empowered woman? I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately — to assess my personal growth, and the growth of my students. Each day, I notice John Marshall female students acting in ways that promote themselves as empowered women…and in ways that degrade…

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Mar 06 2013

The Art of (Not) Teaching

Today, I didn’t drive my students toward success. I led confusing & circuitous INM and struggled with classroom management. And I am prouder of my students than I’ve probably ever been. – DW (from my fifth hour class) didn’t have a cover during her fourth hour, so she came into my honors class & learned…

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Mar 06 2013

What’s my job?

“I’m just here to take care of my own business.” One of my students has said this phrase since day one, and at first, I was taken aback. Didn’t she want to be part of a collaborative classroom culture? Didn’t she want to contribute to the success of others? Now, I understand that phrase differently.…

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Feb 25 2013

Behavior management is a transferable skill

Amping up my behavior management may be the best thing that’s happened in my personal life in a while. Yep, you heard that correctly. The teacher who resisted negative behavior management and stressed out over consequences is actually enjoying it, learning from it, and starting to live her life by it. Growing up, I learned…

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Feb 23 2013

“I’m proud of you.”

“I’m so proud of y’all!” “WHOA, it’s such a good day!” “…Huh?” “…You haven’t said that to us in months.” I shower my students with energy & positivity & happiness — to the point where they sometimes think I’m a robot. After a good class, or even a good discussion to reach a solution to…

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Feb 22 2013

Basketball Highlights: The Only Solution

My door handle has been acting up recently (it’s probably just as antsy for spring break as the rest of us). Just like the other moody things inside of my classroom (students only being one of them), it’s chosen to be wobbly and unreliable. On Tuesday, one of my football players would not stand for…

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Feb 19 2013

“Training is the fight.”

We have twenty-five class days until the EOI. My students will only step into my room twenty-five more times before they showcase their mathematical prowess on a test that unlocks their ability to graduate. It’s gametime. Today, I listened to my students drop some leadership knowledge during the Forward Thinking Program led by Sam Presti,…

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My journey in mathematics and beyond


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