About this Blog
a Teach For America teacher's blog
Helping students to internalize knowledge, skills, and mindsets (one of those tfa phrases that has stuck with me!) is a large part of what we do as teachers. Of course, there’s also bringing out the positive already in the child, but that’s for another day. What I’d like to celebrate today is those parents, coaches, and teachers who have helped their children to internalize attitudes of respect, responsibility, and kindness:
“If an elderly person wants to get an ice cream, the kids “part the waters” and allow the person to get in front of them. It’s not a rule. It’s who they are” (Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire by Rafe Esquith).
Warren St. John reflects similarly on the brotherhood and unspoken values of the “Fugees” soccer team in his moving book Outcasts United, the story of a refugee soccer team, their coach and the small town where they live and play.
My TFA placement was in middle school math (grades 7-8), and I continue to teach math and cultural subjects to middle grades students (grades 4-6). I care deeply about making math meaningful, even when that outlook hasn’t meshed with school and student cultures. Here are some of the resources I use and recommend: Free Online…read more »
As TFA corps members, many of us entered teaching with a great passion for education and educational equity. We cared about our kids and would attempt to do that which was in our “locus of control” to guide students to meeting big goals (and, let’s be honest, TFA led us to believe almost everything was…read more »
I’m currently engaged in a Montessori teacher training program and last summer wrote some notes on the theories and methods of Montessori education. If this interests you, I would recommend reading some published books such as Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll Lillard, scheduling a classroom observation at a local Montessori (AMS…read more »
Several months ago I was invited to observe in a religious education program. I had expressed interest based on the similarity of the program, called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and the Montessori method. Despite different end goals, both programs feature “sensorially rich” experiences (learning through the senses and through movement) and an environment prepared…read more »
Administrators at my placement school routinely prescribed “engaging lessons” as a remedy for nearly every classroom problem. Yet so many teachers, who were well-liked and regarded as effective, leaned toward accountability or control as the panacea for off-task behavior, disrespect, or low achievement. Sadly, the children I taught were not accustomed to joy in learning,…read more »
It’s spring break! I always enjoy the change of pace and chance to recharge come this time of year. As in past years, I’ve spent large parts of my spring break on school-related items: attending a national conference, writing my summative reflection for administration (why is our school a better place because you are here?),…read more »
Two years and some odd months later, I’m back! Those were some long months of learning myself and the prevailing methods of the American education system, at least through the lens of my Atlanta middle school placement. Much of my reflection was turned toward action-oriented classroom items, many of which were difficult to write about…the…read more »
This morning I’m full of joy and anticipation as I look to the school year in just two weeks. These past two weeks have been quite enjoyable and imperative to feeling settled for the school year. I’ve moved into my apartment, organized my things, stocked the pantry shelves, and added some furniture (with help from…read more »
As a friend pointed out this week, my last post in early May was indeed so long ago! Since then, I’ve graduated, completed induction and institute with TFA, and found a place to live here in Atlanta. It’s been up and down, and very busy at points, but certainly a joyful journey thus far. Here are…read more »