Middle School Hero

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 25 2014

Why I Stayed

As Teach For America gains traction on college campuses and within the national media and as the education reform movement with which TFA aligns itself becomes more prevalent, an entire genre of op-eds has risen out of this surging popularity. The “Why I Quit TFA” blog post is a subject that myriad different former Corps Members have tackled. Olivia Blanchard’s account was published in The Atlantic Monthly while I found Sydney Miller’s account to be particularly well-written and poignant. Gary Rubinstein’s “Why I Did Teach For America and Why You Shouldn’t” is (to my understanding) one of his most widely-read posts and even satirical website The Onion has contributed to the discussion with a sardonic piece.
Generally speaking, there are a few common threads throughout these writings. The criticisms around TFA center around the idea that incoming Corps Members are undertrained do not fully ingrain themselves into the communities they serve,…

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Jun 03 2014

The Final Day

In a little less than eight hours I will begin my last day of teaching at Roosevelt Middle School. In five days, I’ll attend a final even hosted by fellow Crops Members and at its conclusion I will get in my car and I will drive to Arkansas. Do not pass Go, do not collect…

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Mar 28 2014

Three Stories

1. I bought her a book. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, to be precise. An old favorite of mine from when I was in high school, when the world was bright and fresh and moved so, so fast and I could feel myself growing and stretching in new ways every second, every day. I…

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Mar 10 2014

Spring Break!

I haven’t written here in almost a month and I think that’s a testament to what’s been going on in my life. All in all, things are wild. Coaching soccer, grad school, preparing to say my goodbyes (to this city, these people, this school), training for the OKC marathon… things have been crazy and I’ve…

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After a first year where I felt like I only truly connected with a small handful of my students, I felt like I really developed strong relationships with my 8th graders last semester. While I didn’t reach every single student, I got very close to a significant number and I would say that almost all of…

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Feb 05 2014

Lying and Cheating

This year I have ranted and raved about how spectacular my kids are. They’ve been angels for me and as a result, my attitude towards teaching and students has completely shifted. I left last year thinking that there were some aspects simply outside of a teacher’s control, that some students just are simply not predisposed…

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Jan 30 2014


Fine, I’ll admit it: I love Lorde’s album Pure Heroine. I think it’s great and (just as importantly for me when I choose new music these days) I think it’s great for 7th graders to listen to as well. So it’s gotten a lot of airtime in P4 recently. I love a lot of the…

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Jan 23 2014


Today my student Regina walks into my class wearing fluorescent blue eye makeup and a mohawk that makes her look like a parrot. Today my student listens to screamo music and eyes me warily when I walk by, daring me not to understand. Today she says, “I’m happy because my friend feels a lot better…

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Jan 18 2014

Archetypes of Greatness

A couple of days ago I had a fantastic conversation with my MTLD. We were talking about myriad things: my plans for year three, the Sue Lehmann nomination I filled out for one of my fellow faculty members, and the intersection of work and play within TFA. Ultimately, I ended up expressing to him a…

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Jan 11 2014

The Newcomers Class

On Tuesday an office aid brought me a sub cover sheet with an interesting assignment on it. The teacher of the newcomer class would be gone for a meeting and needed someone to look over his class. The newcomer class is for students who have been in the United States for less than a year…

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Chronicling teaching middle school English in OKC

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