Middle School Hero

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Aug 12 2013

The littlest Titans

In spite of the fact that my only experience playing organized football came from an illustrious college intramural flag football career, I have somehow become the assistant football coach for RMS. Our first official practice was today, exactly two weeks before our first game against Rogers. A couple of weeks ago when I found out that…

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Aug 12 2013

My new schedule

Due to myriad factors, my schedule looks different than it did last year. It’s been another adjustment but to be honest, I’m so happy with the way it has worked out. While there are seven classes during a day, we are responsible for only five classes, meaning we have one hour set aside for planning…

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Aug 08 2013

Year two, take two

Teaching has given me a tremendous sense of perspective. The lows (which you’ve probably read on here) are never as bad as they seem and they highs are never as great. In your lowest moments, you are still the strongest, most stable influence in many kids’ lives and in your best moments you still have…

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Aug 05 2013

First day of school jitters

For roughly the first six weeks of school last year, I felt nauseous on the way to RMS. Between the moment that I woke up and the moment when the bell rang to start the day, I would dry heave exactly one time. It was never more, but it wasn’t until mid-September that this did…

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Jul 29 2013

Don’t EVER get comfortable

School starts in exactly one week. At this time last year, my stomach was plummeting with the realization that I was being switched over from a largely African American high school to a middle school comprised almost entirely of Latino students. I remember feeling shocked and upset by the switch because I had already felt…

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Jun 26 2013

My Donor’s Choose Project

One of the many great resources available to teachers is a wonderful website called Donor’s Choose. It allows teachers to post projects: trips, supplies, or technology that need outside, additional funding. I’ve put up a project that will allow me to get a document camera for my students. In short, a doc cam is essentially…

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Jun 26 2013

It never ends.

I am literally smack dab in the very middle of summer. I haven’t taught for almost a month and it’ll be three weeks before I need to be back in OKC. This should be the very definition of “the dog days of summer”. But even though my body is spending this time in Utah, Colorado,…

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May 30 2013

Aaaaaaand it is over.

That period in the title totally represents how I feel. Three minutes ago, I just watched my last student walk out of the door for the last time, putting an end to my first year as a teacher. My first year in Oklahoma. My first year in TFA. My first year in the so-called “real…

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Usually I’m a very reflective person. In fact, I distinctly remember writing my “wow, college is over” post roughly one year ago. Which is why it’s so weird that I’m so stuck in the present right now. We’re so close to the end and I know that that fact is going to hit me like…

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May 22 2013

The Tornado

I was I my classroom, waiting for a parent to show up when the administrators came over the loudspeakers. “Everyone in the portables needs to evacuate into the main building.” We’d heard rumors of storms and had been told by our principal to come to school prepared for some rough weather but so far we…

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May 10 2013

No room for vindication

I watched the tears stream down his face while his mother continued to abscond him in here broken English. “I work hard every day for you. Your teachers, they work hard every day for you. Is this what you want? Is this the life you want to lead?” Eduardo* continued to cry but didn’t say…

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May 08 2013

WIDA Testing

This last week, during my planning periods I’ve been helping to administer the WIDA test. The WIDA test measures the speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills of English Language Learners, aka all of my students. Students are scored on a scale of 1-6 with a one meaning that they are unable to communicate in English…

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May 07 2013

How does Dalton get his groove back?

  There are only three weeks left of school but in my head it might as well be October. I haven’t dealt with this burned-out, nauseous-during-the-drive-to-school, counting-down-the-days state of mind since I was fresh out of Institute, coaching two sports, and lesson planning day by day. I’ve switched from trying to thrive and achieve exemplary…

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I was going to write a really negative post today, partly as a form of catharsis and partly just to let the world know how bad things can get once testing is over and student’s motivation goes out the window. I’m floundering and at the end of each day, all I can think about is…

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Over the course of a school year, there are thousands of things that a student attending school in a low-income community deals with that his or her more financially stable counterparts don’t. From lack of parental support to poor nutrition, gang violence to high teacher turnover, the kids that I have become so close to…

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Mar 07 2013

Update on my two boys

Yesterday I became aquinted with the beuaracracy of the Department of Human Services in my attempt to help out two of my boys (I wrote about their plight yesterday in this post). While I understand the need for all the red tape that goes on, especially in places that have the potential to be dangerous,…

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Mar 06 2013

The things my kids fight through…

Today after soccer practice, I’m going to drive to the local shelter. There, I am going to pick up two of my students and drive them home with me. They are going to stay with me for the next few days. After that, I don’t know what will happen to them. The two students are…

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Mar 04 2013

Today is going to be a GREAT day

As of this writing, it’s second hour and all 21 of my students are working. Not just working, but working hard. I haven’t had to do more than redirect anyone yet and in my first hour, we got through everything. Group work went great and everyone was on task and talking about the right things.…

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Mar 01 2013

A new approach to discipline

I can’t begin to describe the energy I’ve wasted this year arguing with students about their behavior. “Yoceline, this is your third warning. You got one when you walked into the room screaming and another when you sharpened your pencil while I was talking and this one right now.” “Paola, I can see your phone out.…

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Feb 26 2013

Thomas Merton’s Letter to a Young Activist

Another Teach For Us blogger posted this. I’m carrying these words inside me as I go about today, especially given that I am proctoring benchmarks in the afternoon.   ” Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you…

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Feb 25 2013

Snow Day?

At the risk of jinxing what could be a beautiful thing, there’s currently a blizzard barreling towards Oklahoma City and chances are good that we’ll have a snow day tomorrow. In fact, one of my roommates is so certain that he made a Slap Bet with my other roommate. In any case, having tomorrow off…

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Feb 22 2013

Seperating work and play

I’ve never been one to dwell things. In college, I was always the one who could shrug off a bad test score or an intramural loss and move on to the next one. It’s not that I didn’t care- to the contrary, it’s because I cared about so many different things that there was always…

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Feb 04 2013

Peaks and valleys

There are two main times that I blog: Either right after school or during my planning period in the afternoon. During the rest of the day, I’m preoccupied with sprinting marathons in an effort to do right by my kids and at night I’m too busy alternately trying to plan the next day while at…

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Jan 28 2013

Kids on kids on kids

Since the new semester started three weeks ago, I’ve gotten about 8 new students. They’re always kids that I recognize from other classes and they’d always show up one at a time, a new student here, a new student there. I had no idea where these students were coming from or why they were suddenly…

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Jan 23 2013

A benefit of coaching

Since the start of the new semester I’ve had the opportunity to reengage in one of my favorite parts of working at RMS: coaching. And, even better, this semester I’m getting to work with my one true love, socccer. As much fun as softball is, soccer is and always has been my forte. In high…

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Chronicling teaching middle school English in OKC

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