Being Ms. B

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jan 06 2014

In which I freeze a little

It’s amazing that a foot of snow and some sub-zero temperatures can send me spiraling into a strange alternate universe.  In this alternate universe, my sixteen day holiday break has turned into eighteen days, St. Louis has turned into a block of compacted ice and snow, and my brain (and probably the brains of my…

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Nov 03 2013

In which it is November 3rd

A co-worker asked me during a professional development session on Friday why I wasn’t writing anymore. I guess I could have told him that this was a TFA platform, and that as a (CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT) “alumna” of Teach For America, I no longer thought I had anything much to say. That’s really…

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So far, being a third year teacher seems to be mostly about doing all of the things that I was too scared to do in my first two years. For example, yesterday, I died. Not really.  Obviously I’m still at least animated enough to type this blog post. Still, my death did take place during…

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It’s been a tumultuous summer to be a teacher in St. Louis. For those not living every moment of our educational soap opera, recent court decisions have made it possible for kids in unaccredited districts like mine to be transferred to fully accredited schools, on their home district’s dime.  Naturally, this is turning into a…

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Comparisons are deadly. A few months ago, I had a case of viral Crud that kept me feeble for weeks.  I came to work every day with my low grade fever and kept all of the lights off in my classroom to delay the inevitable daily migraine.  When TFA staff came in and made the…

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I haven’t brought work home from school during the week for a long time.  Call it Senioritis, call it work place efficiency, call it whatever you want.   Whatever it is, I dragged a lovely and inspiring pile of student work home with me tonight, and settled down to spend 3 hours alternatively snacking and…

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Apr 10 2013

In which my nose grows longer

I think I am slowly losing cognitive function. This is being written on a clipboard on Day 2 (of 3) of district benchmark testing.  If you don’t know, that means we have to give long, painful, multiple choice tests three times a year that, theoretically, predict performance on the state test. I can think of…

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Being a teacher means not ever being Sure. At the beginning of the year, you’re not Sure where your classroom will be, or with what and with whom it will be filled.  If you’re like me and you work in an unaccredited district, you’re not even Sure you’ll have a classroom. Kids ask you questions…

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Feb 14 2013

In which there is February 14th

A really long time ago there was this guy named St. Valentine.  He lived in Rome and there was something about weddings.  It’s really interesting, you should learn about it some time. (Yes I just wrote that paragraph.  Yes I spent today in a writing PD.  Yes I should probably be ashamed of myself.  Oops?)…

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Feb 02 2013

In which I’d rather be coloring

A friend of mine said recently that she missed my blog, but that she assumed that all was well in my universe if I wasn’t writing much. This is mostly true.  The good news, to all of you first years in the dreaded pre-Valentine’s amp up, is that on this side of year two, things…

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Ms. B Room 374 School January 4, 2013 Dear children of Room 374, I am writing this note, in friendly letter format, because after two weeks without my priceless insight, you’re probably in the mood for some light reading. Here are some of the things that I have done since December 21st: Read some books, many…

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I have this fantasy that I will unit plan out the rest of the year in the next two hours, leaving time to bond with my family, reconnect with high school friends, fly back to STL, clean my apartment, determine my fate for next year, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc…   That’s a lot…

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As a member of the sixth grade team, I have the indubitable privilege of last hour plan periods.  Here are three from this week. One. At the beginning of my plan period, I have the honor of spending the first 10 minutes chasing seventh graders from the hallway into their classrooms.  The only sixth grade…

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When I was little, a famous family Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house in Illinois changed the way we talked about gratitude in November.  When we, like dutiful Americans, went around the table to say what we were thankful for, we were banned from the profound or the cliche.  So my mom was thankful for post-its,…

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ELA (English - Language Arts) teachers universally dream of a single phrase sprouting, unbidden, from the mouths of their students. “CAN WE KEEP READING?” If it’s not a universal dream, it’s at least one of mine. Anyway, this week, I heard the elusive phrase. I have certainly heard it before, but generally because I was using…

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Friends, a major event of my teaching career occurred this week. I discovered a chalk board eraser. To you, this may seem small.  But since a child stole mine in February of last year, I have used a combination of old raggedy towels and wet wipes to clean my chalkboard on a daily basis.  When…

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Oct 21 2012

In which there are nine weeks

Here is the good news. Nine weeks remain in the second quarter of the 2012-2013 school year. Of those nine weeks, seven are being cropped by district professional development, external professional development, and one free standing personal day. There are five weeks before Thanksgiving (thanks Southwest Airlines, my flight is, “just around the corner,” indeed).…

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Oct 14 2012

In which the Octobers descend

Bonjour October. We knew you would come. In the yearly voyage of the earth around the sun, October had to come. October, for those of you who don’t know, is a funny little month, full of parent-teacher conferences, report cards, and sugar crazed adolescents. And sleepy, sleepy teachers. Between the most recent state visit (my…

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[NB: This excerpt was inspired by a brilliant conversation I had in the midst of a highly charged baseball game tonight.  More soon on The Octobers, as they have well and truly arrived.] Remember the kid who always wore a hoodie to school?  And not just a regular sweatshirt – she wore the same hoodie…

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Sep 23 2012

In which I wonder as I wander

  Dear Terminal 2, Thou art a muse. But really, why have more people not written odes to your inspirational qualities?  The entrancing qualities of the flickering fluorescents, the gentle odor of old Starbucks grounds, the peaceful murmur of waiting Midwesterners… With such conditions, and with my propensity for travel in the past five-going-on-six years,…

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I don’t quite know what to do with myself. It’s 7:06 PM on Sunday night. (Hell night.  Sing it, teacher friends.) It is way too early to attempt sleep, even with a friendly sleep aid.  I have done all of the work that I can reasonably do (I’m more or less planned through the end…

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Sep 01 2012

In which there are curious facts

One. Almost five weeks ago, right before the children returned from their frolicsome summers, I managed to fall down, hurt myself, and end up at urgent care with a cute little foot boot (“post-operative shoe”).  I ended up back at urgent care this week (with renewed foot pain) to learn that I really had a…

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Aug 25 2012

In which she blows your minds

Oh, hello friends. 1 year ago today, I was sitting on the curb outside of my gym, misting as I talked to my parents on the phone.  It was my first TFtear, my first TFmeltdown. A precious, precious memory. Two weeks into the 2011-2012 school year, I was already at my wits end, a charming…

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Aug 14 2012

In which I dig deep

[disclaimer part 1: I wrote this on Saturday.  Today is Tuesday.  There have been children for 2 days.  More on that when there is more on that.]   Things I lost track of this week: -Number of times people expressed shock and amazement about my glorious and voluntary return to room 374 -Approximately 2,000,000 different…

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Today, I spent a number of hours propped up at my dining room table, staring at my laptop. This is not much different from how I spent the majority of the summer, but this time I was staring at MS Word and not at Netflix. I say propped up, because delicate and graceful flower that…

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Teaching by the arch

St. Louis
Middle School

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