Lessons and Learnings

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 19 2013

Why, hello, 2013s!

Hard to believe that a year ago I found out I had gotten into Teach for America.  Actually, I think it was a year ago this week.  I remember the criticism, the anger from my family that I would do this, the fear of not knowing what the classroom would hold.  I would read critics about Teach for America and think, “What have a done?!?”  I would search for blog posts from corps memebers to figure out what my life would be like.  Nothing will EVER prepare you for the reality of teaching in an inner city.  So here it goes, 2013s, a little advice:
1)  Institute is wonderful.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, it sucks waking up early, eating the same PBJ every day, a chip, two cookies, and a drink.  Water will be your new best friend.  Philadelphia Institute, food is about 3/4 of a mile from your…

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Feb 20 2013

The Reality of Teaching in City Schools

TFA tells us to aim for 80% mastery and we can change the life of every student.  And maybe we can.  But the reality is, if I get 60% mastery, it is a great day.  The reality is despite hours of conversations, time spent during school and after school talking to kids about making the…

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Sep 11 2012

September 11

Today one of my students said to me, “Hey, you know what tomorrow is, right?  It’s 9/11.”  Another pipped and said, “Yeah, can you take us to NY to see the site?”  I didn’t know what to say and it hit me.  They were so young.  4, maybe 5 years old and they hear about…

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Aug 15 2012


In my last job, I got to work between 9:30 and 10:30 everyday.  I woke up between 7 and 8 and hit the road around 9 or 9:30.  Now I find myself leaving around 6:30 which means waking up at 5 so I can make it to New Teacher Institute on time.  I know the…

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Jul 04 2012

Institute…Well into Week 2

If you are thinking about joining TFA and are placed in institute over the 4th of July, just be aware that doesn’t mean a holiday.  We had to attend sessions this morning and then the afternoon is for planning.  I did take a 3 hour drive to get out of Philly for a bit but…

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Jun 26 2012


It took me about 4 days to finish this post.  What can I say?  It’s been one of those experiences… I hate reflection.  Seriously, I hate it.  Reflection makes me overanalyze and overanalyzing causes me to stress and stress causes me to stop sleeping and lack of sleep makes me burst into tears very quickly. …

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May 24 2012

The Teacher I Want to Be

Through my own lack of know, I realized several weeks ago that I needed to complete 2 classroom visits/observations.  I quickly contacted my TFA contact in Baltimore and asked for the names of science education science teachers in the area.  With school ending, I knew I was down to the wire in terms of completing…

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May 01 2012

Oh Praxis, What Have You Done to Me?

I learned about my acceptance to TFA two weeks before the April Praxis.  Silly me decided to give it a go.  How hard could it be?!  I’ve spent 7 years studying Biology, I’ve got this! HAHAHA.  Silly, Rabbit, Praxis is for the studious!  Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure I could have aced the…

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So this one time I hit a four-foot planter…in a Beetle.   Not just any Beetle…Her name is Betty and she is a blue 2007 VW Bug.  My dream car and my graduate school graduation present.  I received her nearly 3.5 years before I graduated because I was driving a Chevy Blazer that was dying a…

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Apr 17 2012

Wait, You’re Doing WHAT?!?

In 2003, I graduated a semester early from college.  I packed up my car and headed home where a job waited for me at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Finally!  I was on my way to establishing a life long career as a scientist.  I would cure cancer!  I had the whole world in…

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