Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 30 2009

The Announcements for the Day

Testing hurray!  While there are many, many things I could write about from this crazy week, I will just focus on today’s series of announcements that literally left me completely out of breath and hunched over with laughter.  It also served as a small bonding moment with one student with whom I’ve had way too many negative encounters.  So here they are.
8:30 – “Good morning students and staff, I want to take this time to congratulate the 7th and 8th graders on a very successful day of testing yesterday.  All tests were completed within 2 hours and all materials were returned on time.  Thank you students, and in return, we will have an extended lunch period.  I repeat, we will have an extended lunch period.  Teachers, please bring your students down at 12 and pick them up at 1:15.  Again, bring your students blah blah blah”
Note: Two things – 1.…

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Apr 22 2009

Expect the Unexpected

Last week, we got a very intimidating email letting us know that NO Earth Day celebrations would be taking place as testing is “of PREMIUM IMPORTANCE.”  I loved that phrase, by the way.  Anyway, at the time, I thought, “Well, so it goes.  Let’s teach children that environmentalism is only important if all the conditions…

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Apr 08 2009

A New Kind of Birthday

In years past, my birthday has been made up of a requested dessert (anything but cake), family, friends, an adventure of some kind, crazy themed parties, and lots of presents.  This year…it’s a little different. I had my fun adventure ahead of time because my lovely friends knew I’d be working during the week.  I’m…

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Dec 16 2008


I got caught in a snow storm while eating in a Jewish deli with my lovely roomie on the Upper West Side today. I have 4 and 1/2 more teaching days left until Christmas. On Monday, my homeroom was actually under control. One class got SUPER excited about putting on their play on Thursday. I…

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Dec 12 2008

I can make it. I can make it.

This is what I keep repeating to myself throughout the day.  It’s the only thing that can keep me going.  I swear, I sometimes love my kidlets, but my school is so screwed up it’s unbearable. On Wednesday, I was gone because I was at a workshop for the National Writing Project.  Inspiring.  Rejuvenating.  Wonderful. …

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Nov 25 2008

Thanksgiving is in the air

I’m so sorry for the long delay between posts.  The truth is, not much has been going on.  School has been humming along.  I bought all seven seasons of the West Wing and have been spending far too much of my time on that.  I’m behind on grading.  My kids are improving, for the most…

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Nov 15 2008

Future dreams and more

So, on Thursday I broke up my 3rd and 4th fights. #3: two 8th grade boys in the hall right outside my room.  No problem, they didn’t really want to fight, and I think they were purposely having it by a classroom so a teacher would break it up. #4: two 6th grade girls, also…

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Oct 24 2008

What a day. 2 out of 5 of those drive-bys happened within a 2 block radius of my school.  It’s no wonder that my students rarely have their minds on school.  I think about the whole “Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs” idea, and realize that they are often just in survival mode.  How do we expect them to…

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Oct 10 2008


Isaac’s mom is in the hospital with terminal cancer, his dad has been out of the picture for years and he hates his stepfather.  This explains so much. Last night, she went into critical condition.  He cried in my room today for 30 minutes.  Not crying with him was one of the hardest things I’ve…

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Oct 06 2008

Classroom Management woes (and woahs)

So, I have three blocks of children. Block One: My homeroom, and the “gifted and talented” block.  (One thing this school cannot understand: G&T means NOTHING if you throw a few kids in who are not.  It only works if the whole class is on one level) Hell on earth.  They smell the worst, they act the…

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Adventures in Newark

Greater Newark
Middle School

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