Latest posts from English

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 09 2014

On learning, not teaching

As I sat in church this morning, I had a remarkable realization. I thought I came to Appalachia to teach, to educate, and to enlighten. With only three months left in my TFA commitment, I finally realized that I have gotten it backwards. Yes, in a sense, I may be teaching, educating and enlightening, but…

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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 29 2014


When I joined TFA and began teaching last summer, I accepted that this would be a difficult adventure. Teaching itself is terribly tough for any first year, let alone someone who has only recently begun to learn how. I knew I would struggle with classroom management. I understood that many of my students come from…

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Jan 28 2014


For the first time in Caroline history, I solved a problem by not running. There are two personal constants I’ve had since seventh grade that I swear by: running and writing. I know in my deep little flickering soul that these two things are the core of my stability, my well-being, my clarification and my…

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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 16 2014

Arkansas Winter

I have a lot of work to do. This morning my homeroom class was incredibly stubborn, their eyes squinted, glaring, or piercing the linoleum. My voice was stern, little warmth, clear directions, fit for seven-year-olds, not pre-teens. Step by step we went. “First, your head. Hold it up without any help. Hands and fists down,…

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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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