Being Ms. B

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Mere days before Kickoff commences (the beginning of the TFA year, of course), I find myself faced with a conundrum. A musical conundrum. My cohort has been asked to send our MTLDs a meaningful song; this is kind of cool and different, a laudable departure from our usual pattern of PD. However, I find it…

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Mind blown by that simile? Today is July 12th.  On August 13th (one month + one day from today, in case that wasn’t clear), a brand new troop of precious angels will be beating down my classroom door. So basically, I’m nesting.  Here’s how: Making 12,000 new posters. Crocheting an afghan (it’s soothing…) Checking out…

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Jun 11 2012

In which I am verbose

I have this new resolution.  I’m only writing things when I actually have something to say.  This includes text messages (I don’t really need to reply if you sent me, “k”), emails (if there isn’t a TFA “action item,” I don’t need to take action), and blog posts. The school year is now well and truly…

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Jun 03 2012

In which it lingers

This is a new level of restlessness to which I am unaccustomed. Nothing is more appealing to a teacher than the thought of summer vacation.  It seems blissfully limitless, peaceful, restorative, and a slew of other adjectives that cannot be applied to the school year.  For 10 months, summer was the somewhat seductive light at…

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May 28 2012

In which it’s like… over?

I never thought that this post would be the most challenging writing assignment of my year. I have composed it in my head thousands of times.  Somewhere in the universe’s negative space where things you don’t write down go, there is the triumphant “Closed That Achievement Gap, Y’all” version I imagined during Institute, the “I…

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May 23 2012

In which there are numbers

I need make only one more peanut butter sandwich.  I only have to eat two more, which means that in three days I can eat an infinite array of lunch possibilities if I so choose.  I only have to hear my phone go off at 5 AM two more times.  I only have to limit…

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When I was thirteen, I sang the baritone part in Seasons of Love in my summer arts camp women’s chorus (it is a boon to be vocally versatile at times). If you weren’t born to be a musical theater geek, you might not know the song by name.  It’s the one that asks, “how do…

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May 11 2012

In which there are 10

You can tell a lot about a school by the state of its lockers. At my school, our lockers are a strange shade of blue, that even now as I stare out at them from my classroom door, I can’t find an appropriate adjective to describe.  Many of them are lock-less, as their owners have…

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May 04 2012

In which I slam on the brakes

It’s a tumble-onto-bed, asleep-before-you-fall kind of Friday night. I got home from having a singular adult beverage with my team by 6 PM.  I sat down on my bed at 6:05, and at 7 I opened my eyes, astonished that, at some point, I must have closed them. It’s not that I worked so very…

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Apr 22 2012

In which it’s complicated

My kids don’t think that I can text. Somewhere in New Jersey, my parents just read that sentence and laughed, because they remember how many times in my youth I went over the monthly text messaging limit on our family cell phone plan. Nevertheless, since I am somewhere between 30 and 10,000 years old, it…

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Apr 16 2012

In which there is blah

The blahs are universal.  They are endemic to the human population, but especially to those of us who spend our days in the Institution of the School, the Training Ground for Young Minds. This week is our state testing window, and so children and adults alike seem to veer manic-depressively from focused attention to mad…

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Apr 06 2012

In which all was well

This week… One of my children asked if my haircut could be considered a mullet.  I said that I hoped not. I spent the last 10 minutes of the day on Wednesday cycling between every accent that I can reasonably attempt, much to the delight of 50% of my sixth hour class.   The other…

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Here is a universal truth about children: they are all baffled and fascinated by the lives their teachers live outside of school. Here is a universal truth about adults: we don’t grow out of it. After high school, I underwent the modern rite of passage of becoming Facebook friends with my former teachers.  To this…

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Mar 25 2012

In which it’s not ok

Teaching is one big identify crisis, I write confusedly on the far side of Spring Break, perhaps a side effect of being somewhat refreshed, rejuvenated, renewed. Warning: This is about to get heavy.  I don’t think I make a single joke or snide comment in this entire post.  I might even say something negative about an…

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Spring Break makes you do unusual things, things that you don’t have time to do during the normal work-a-day craziness of life as a teacher. If I were being poetic, I would tell you that the stand out leisure activity from today, my first day of temporary freedom, was wandering through an epically well stocked…

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Random thoughts: Taken from the morning drive to North County. Recorded during the last commute before Spring Break, en route to the final four hours of parent-teacher conferences. Influenced by the heavenly aroma of STL Bread Co. bagels for the team in the front seat.   Why is pulchritude such an ugly word when it…

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Mar 11 2012

In which it always gets harder

  Here is the craziest part of the TFA experience.  Every time you think that you have experienced the hardest thing you can experience, it turns out that you ain’t seen nothing yet. I  am writing this on another Megabus trek to Chicago, listening to my Institute playlist.  Institute was SO hard (sorry 2012s, when…

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Mar 03 2012

In which reading is everything

About 98% of the time, this blog is about me.  My struggles, my moments of clarity, my hilarious and often ridiculous inner monologue.  And this is good, because in the past 6 weeks during which I have clawed my way out of Deep Dark Depression (a word that I do not use lightly), I have…

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Feb 25 2012

In which I am all seven dwarfs

Doc…  Teaching as Leadership right?  If Doc applied to TFA he’d be all up on that TAL rubric. Grumpy… Sometimes after I have said, “Please go to the cafeteria, please go to the gym, please get in line for breakfast, please take a seat, please don’t throw that milk carton,” for the 23,000,000th  time in…

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Confession: I wrote this post on Thursday, from my classroom. There’s something a little wasteful and opulent about writing while I’m at school, but sometimes I figure that if I’m going to teach it, I have to practice it. Also, I magically finished next week’s lesson plans that morning, including worksheets.  Also, I had nothing to…

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February 14th seems like a strange day to be looking back on the last year.  It’s not New Years, it’s not a birthday, and it’s not any other yearly marker of time’s passage. It is the anniversary of something bad happening to some Catholic saint somewhere for some reason, but we won’t go into that.…

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Feb 10 2012

In which there is a giant tease

When I first started working at my school, t-minus 7 months ago, I was literally told almost immediately about my district’s love of snow days.  “We get off for everything!” they gleefully told me, “Even the tiniest flurries!” Naturally, this has resulted in me waking up whenever there is the slightest hint of a chance of snow…

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Feb 05 2012

In which it is Sunday night

Ok look, here is what they’ll never tell you about being a teacher as a tender young TFA recruit. Oh they’ll tell you that it’s rewarding (read: hard).  They’ll tell you that it’s exhausting, even. But they won’t tell you about Sunday nights. Sunday night is Pure Evil.  Never mind the soul deadening anxiety about…

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Jan 28 2012

In which I look at my life

I try very very hard to be very very honest on this blog. That sounds like an easy thing to do, especially since I’m a sixth grade teacher who spends her life trying to separate strands of truth and fiction from children who insist that they need to go to the bathroom/counselor/nurse/principal/other teacher RIGHT NOW…

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In the following blog post, I will attempt to be scholarly and philosophical.  I will create an extended metaphor involving Enlightenment Age texts.  Please try not to be alarmed, I’ll go back to self deprecation and puns soon enough.   Once upon a time, I was a college student who did silly things like studying…

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Teaching by the arch

St. Louis
Middle School

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