Shake the Dust

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 05 2015

I’ve cried ten times

I’ve cried in my classroom nine times that I remember.
Once the fifth week of school my first year when my class talked about me behind my back (and by behind my back I mean in front of my face in a circle while I sat in the middle of the room hating myself) and once when a student stole my phone… and twice in that situation’s aftermath. Once a few tears slipped out when I was so proud I couldn’t keep them in and once when I was so angry I felt like I was on fire. I cried sobbed twice in one day when I got a disciplinary write up and another time when a parent told me over the phone “I might go to jail tonight” for how hard she would beat her son for his behavior. I’ve cried probably four times more than that at home, three…

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Aug 04 2014

419 Miles South on 63

I went to college 419 miles north of my town in rural Northeastern Missouri. When the town becomes visible 100 miles after leaving the last big (ish) city you can spot a sign that greets, “Kirksville Welcomes You! Where People Make The Difference.” If you weren’t paying attention as you drove up Highway 63 you’d…

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May 07 2014

Password ‘jew’ no caps

My team teacher had never met a Jewish person until I came to teach fifth grade. As last semester wound down she remarked to me as she popped open a Diet Dr. Pepper, “I usually read Number the Stars with sixth graders but now that you’re here I feel like we just have to do…

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Apr 07 2014

Prep them to Death

Today, for the first time in 134 days of teaching, I am one hundred percent positive that I fought for what my students deserved. The story is ridiculous (it involves my obsession with getting my students a certain magical blue TI-15 calculator to use on their benchmark) but I’m on fire. It took me three…

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Mar 20 2014

Arkansas Forever

I’ve accepted it all because when things are easy you don’t make them hard. For no greater purpose or ideal, it’s easy for me to love it here. So I signed that paper, knowing nothing, accepting everything, being bound by a love I don’t question, and let a new thought roll around in my brain: Arkansas forever.

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Feb 26 2014

Seven Years to Get it Right

I work in a small rural school. My students have been sitting next to the same people since kindergarten.  They are generally very sweet to each other but on the days they can’t seem to get along I like to remind them that these are the same people they will be in school with for…

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Dear world beyond the Delta, I woke up today and found a severed deer leg in my front yard. At first I thought it was a stick but after inching a few steps closer realized it was definitely a deer leg. I laughed about it mostly because I didn’t know what else to do. A…

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Feb 02 2014

Dropping the Ball

I made a huge mistake yesterday and it all started with our peewee basketball tournament. I’ve been coaching pee wee for what feels like one billion years (okay, just 4 months) and have slowly picked up a few other roles along the way: designated inhaler holder, scorekeeper, and shuttle service to and from practices and…

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Jan 08 2014

No Lie (in the words of 2 Chainz)

It is a rare occasion that people from “the outside” observe my classroom. So when they roll around, TFA observations make me all kinds of anxious and uncomfortable. Will I hear the dreaded words “apathetic and unruly” in a debrief or suddenly feel compelled to narrate the crap out of my students? All things are…

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Dec 25 2013

I know this much to be true

Tomorrow I know that I will walk into a Waffle House I’ve never been to and eat alone in the company of other people who have nowhere to be on Christmas. I know what I’ll order. I know that I’ll feel guilty for eating there when the waitresses have families at home. I know I’ll…

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Arkansas, y'all.

Mississippi Delta
Elementary School
Elementary Education

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