Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Completed? Kinda.

GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! Did ANYONE watch that World Cup game? I overslept, per usual this summer, and got up at 10:38 AM. It was perfect timing. I was biting my nails for the last 15 minutes and then LANDON PULLED THROUGH!!

Watch this video if you missed it: YES WE CAN
Watch this celebration in case you're too embarrassed to do one yourself: Impossible is Nothing

After that minor heart attack, I did in fact sit down and do my work. I just needed to see other people succeed to make myself succeed. Thank you Landon Donovan for keeping our spirit alive! Today I finished my investment plan (including a month to month calendar of events I will do with the kids), my long term plan for pre-AP 10th and 11th, choose what grammar lessons I will be teaching this semester, researched creative technology for teaching the grammar lessons, picked out my final novels to teach, and started calendering out each week. It was a pretty good day overall. I think I will get some additional work done on the trip, by reading the novels over that I am going to be teaching. We are making progress!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


You know when you had that midterm in college or that awkward phone call to make...and you found absolutely everything to do before completing the one inevitable task? Yah. My usual practices are; going for a run, well then I need to shower, and I can't start working until my room is cleaned, but then once it's cleaned....I should relax for awhile in it! So, maybe onto a book or going on the computer for awhile.

All of these things have been accomplished in the last 2 days! And yes, I am owning up to it. I finished two books already. First was "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier," the second, "One Day, All Children." Both were great books. The first was an intense narrative about a boy's journey through adolescence and civil unrest in Africa. The second was a book written by Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America. Now, as I reflect- it's a bit ironic that I am procrastinating on work for my classroom as a corps member of Teach for America, by reading a book about the struggles of Teach for America. Yah. That's why I realized my fault. Ha.

After finishing the book I did in fact clean my room, including organizing my clothes by color, doing a load of laundry, and other various tasks. Well, then I was dirty so it was shower time. After that...the World Cup of course! And then? I needed to get new tennis shoes so I can start running again (not in basketball shoes!!). Ah, well it's important to get the right tennis shoes, so that took 2 hours. Obviously after that it was time to break in those shoes, so I went for a 4 mile run! You know... because I've done that so often this summer (not). It was death. And that death meant no more work for the night. And here I am- 11:57 Tuesday night, no work done on my long term plan or unit plans for the day.

HEY I did do a long term plan for 11th grade yesterday though. And started mapping out the unit for it? Good, baby steps, good! And, on a positive note I found out I am allowed to teach my 11th grade books to my 10th graders, just applying their standards. Which means I will still only need to teach one novel at a time, a great thing for my focus! So that does eliminate some work for me. Which means (since I found that out today) by default I got work done? Weak argument, but I'll accept it tonight.

Tomorrow....tomorrow is going to be a big day. After the USA World Cup game.......

Thursday, June 17, 2010

TFA Books

I just finished "Relentless Pursuit" a book written about the Teach for America first year experience for 4 different teachers, a program director, and a new "assistant principal," in the LA school district. It was labeled the "Best Book of the Year" by one news source and had some other positive feedback about it.

My feedback: Kind of slow, kind of repetitive, certainly not inspiring, and a little bit formulated. Now, first I do want to say that because I have participated in the program I may have come at this book a little jaded. Although I loved my experience in the Delta, there definitely was a big learning curve. I was unaware of many things that were to happen to me that year-both personal and professionally. I guess that means I could kind of identify with the characters in the book-but really? I didn't.

Maybe it was because the author was not a participant? Maybe it was because it was painted as such a dramatic experience. I don't know. I just felt like "yah, these are some of the experiences you have when you move into the inner city....duh." Further proving my point, many sections started out with the author explaining that the Corps member was "struggling." Okay for me-NO BRAINER. Hey upper middle class college graduate- moving to a poor, under served, underprivileged, struggling school might be a little difficult. I think most people can deduct that this might be a struggle.

Not to sound like I hated the book or anything! Haha I did enjoy reading about the relationships formed and identified with the character that coached soccer as well. I also liked that the author didn't hide the fact that Corps members do have a life outside of the classroom. Whether that is traveling on the weekends or drinking at happy hour, we are real people too!

I'm moving onto my next TFA book-"One Day All Children" by Wendy Kopp herself. Let's see how this one goes...

Guilty Conscience

I thought I wasn't going to start work until July, but I realized I am not going to be at home for the entire month besides two or three days! Eeeks! Looks like I've got some work to do in the coming days. I guess my long term plan is done for one of my classes already and I've got some ideas done for the other classes, but yuck I didn't think I was actually going to have to sit down and work so soon!

So far I've been sleeping in until 10 each morning, taking some walks around town by myself, watching the World Cup (love it!), and reading some books. I originally had a big goal of reading one book a week, but that has fallen to the wayside. Maybe I will try to focus a little more in this coming week and have some stuff done before my brother's wedding. I am excited!

Hold me to it. Big Goal: Long term plans done for Pre-AP 10 and 11th grade English, 2 unit plans done for each class period, 1 book read for personal enjoyment, and completely committing to the novels I will be teaching next year. BIG GOALS due: June 23rd, 2010. Think I can do it? We'll see!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Can you tell it's summer? I'm revamping my blog. New colors, pictures, borders, type face....all just so exciting! What do you think of the new style?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Relentless Pursuit

Welcome, 2010 Mississippi Delta Corps Members!

I have heard such great things about this incoming group. We have literally gone from about 90 Corps members in the 2008 Corps, to around 300 in mine, and now an additional 300+ in the new Corps! What a great impact this is going to have!

A few of my friends hung around for Induction (their pre-Institute welcome) and had a great time. I am kind of jealous I wasn't there, but I was also pretty ready to come home! I heard my Principal was at Induction (which is awesome news!) and hopefully we bring home a few to C next year, since we need some more people in the Northwest Delta!

I remember one year ago this week, ooooh wee it was a stressful time. I was busy and had no idea what I was doing and about to step into my first teaching experience. Godspeed to all the newbies on these endeavors! Got to love it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer time and livin's easy!

I think I quoted that song right? Meh.

It's summer! I am here in Wisconsin doing...well, absolutely nothing! I have started reading some books I need to read before next year, reconnected with some old friends, and walked around Milwaukee a bit.

In a few short weeks my only brother is getting married! (and even better - it's in Jamaica!) After that I am going to go to the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota for my outdoorsy side? Then spend some time in Minneapolis with college buddies. After that I am hoping to make a quick trip to either San Fran or Miami (jet setting much? big goals). Then, my mom is working on a vacay to possibly Mexico before heading back to the Delta! Sounds pretty perfect doesn't it? Ah paid summers, I could get used to you.

Before heading back in August, I need to read about 10 books and make a LOT of lesson plans. It is not going to be a repeat of last year where my Sunday's were full of straight work. I fully intend on planning my first quarter (or MOREEEEE) before school even starts. I'm telling you, this is a summer full of big goals!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A note left at the end of the year! :)

Some of my favorites

Sneaking Out

You know those teacher work days? Remember when you were younger and you got out of school and would ride by on your bike to see all of the teacher's cars still there? Yah, that's today.

I've got a 12 hour trip home ahead of me, I might be willing to be a bad ass today and leave early. We'll see if I can muster the confidence! My principal might eat me alive if he finds out!

My Last Day

I am here! I made it, what a crazy thought. I am sitting in my completely naked classroom right now in the corner typing this. Similar to 8 months ago, when I took a video of this classroom (one of my first posts on the blog!), I am in a bit of a reflective mood.

What a year it has been. I've met some great people here at the high school, the elementary, and central office. C has been a welcoming community full of happiness and closeness. As we walked the halls that first day of school, it was an experience I will not forget. Kids staring at me...probably because I was new and everyone could tell. An "out of towner" if nothing else. Now, those same kids have come the last few days to say goodbye, take pictures, give cards. What one year can do for any individual is a great feeling.

My classroom has transformed into someone's leftovers to mine. The set-up, the colors, the furniture, it's all something I designed, something I worked at all year. There may be many hard parts about teaching, but what is great-is the freedom to be yourself through many forms of expression (actual teaching, designing, leading, involvement).

I've been lucky to have some of the best kids in the school. My junior class was a group of kids that are going places. We've never had this many proficient students, we've never had students attend ACT Academy, we've got kids going to MASH (a nursing program), a group of 10 at a government camp right now, and so many other positive things happening while I am away this summer. These positive leaps truly show what some involvement and research can do for a kid's life.

My parents did that research for me. These kids don't always have that option, and I am so happy that there are people here at CHS that are willing to take that place and find some great opportunities. Let's make some stacked activity lists for these colleges next year! My juniors are going to rock the real world!

Peace out 2009-2010 school year. It's been real.