Along The River

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › Teach For America

Jan 31 2012

Lies lies lies…or untruths

If I could give one piece of advice to an incoming CM, I would say never believe what anyone says about which month is the worst or when things get better. You’ll hear things like “October is the worst month” and “Everything gets better after winter break.” Well I’m here to tell you that for…

read more »
Jan 08 2012

In My Defense

After  being sarcastically baited by blogger on this site and reading a post that (I believe) referenced a comment of mine, I’m feeling the need to defend myself. I’ve made, apparently, some controversial comments about Diane Ravitch and Twitter. My comments are as follows: “TMB’s tweets and post aside, I have yet to see DR offer…

read more »

When we came back from Thanksgiving break this week, things at school seemed totally different. Managing my students has become a lot easier and I’m enjoying them more. I don’t really know what happened to change things, but I’ll take it! One of my classes has even earned the privilege of choosing their own seats!…

read more »
Nov 16 2011

Against text books

As I observe the other new science teachers at my school (all 3 of us are new, the other two are also non-traditionally trained but not TFA) I realize how anti-effective many textbooks are. I say anti-effective because they are worse than simply not effective. No, they can be harmful in the hands of someone…

read more »
Nov 16 2011

Blogging Dry Spell

I haven’t blogged in quite a while, since October 23. Not much has changed since then. I’m still getting by day-to-day but not transforming my students’ lives. At this point, all I can do is blame myself. I need to make time to introduce the vision, goal, and systems to help them succeed but just…

read more »
Oct 23 2011

11 weeks in Memphis

So far, no one has asked me for my thoughts on this, but in case they ever do they can find them here.  We have had at least 10 CMs (only counting people who actually had jobs) quit in the first 10 weeks of school. Apparently, this is extremely uncommon for this early in the…

read more »

I just wrote this really long message to a friend of mine who is applying, and I thought I’d reproduce it here. Friend! No worries about bugging me. I won’t lie, this is easily the most challenging thing I’ll ever do. There were moments when I wanted to quit. I was looking for a new…

read more »
Oct 08 2011

I teach for A.J.

Yesterday as my students were taking notes, A. politely raised his hand (like he always does). I went over to his table and he said, “Ms. Y, did you know that it takes a year for a lizard to poop?” Where do kids get this stuff? It’s AWESOME. Time for a more lengthy update soon.…

read more »
Sep 20 2011

Should I be happy?

So I’ve been thinking a lot today about the fact that, even though things are going better with my grade level and subject change, I’m still not happy. Should I be happy? Is that a reasonable expectation? I hate coming home to work and having a one day weekend. I spend Sunday working and I…

read more »

Has it really only been a little over 2 weeks since my last post? It feels like a lifetime. I’m gonna throw out a question real quick: When they say October is the worst month in a first-year teacher’s career, are they referring to the second month of teaching? “On Gooooood” (a saying my students…

read more »

Today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My students were out of control. It was mostly my fault. I did not have a good plan for today. I also realized that my first unit has been pretty useless. I haven’t really taught to the SPI, instead spending way too much time reviewing…

read more »
Aug 31 2011


I’m having a grand old time with Gary Rubenstein‘s spreecast internet talk show. We are using this site called spreecast which is in beta mode, but when the bugs are worked out it it will be really cool.

read more »

I have a classroom library. It has no books. I am trying to build up a classroom library so that my students can learn to love reading just like I do! Please consider supporting my project. Every little bit helps. You can find it here:

read more »

Teaching is hard. Teaching is important. Not only do I need to teach my students 7th grade (well, and 6th and 5th and 4th…) this year, but I need to teach them how to learn. They have spent so much of their lives looking and acting like they were learning but not actually taking any…

read more »

I think I’ve got it figured out. Well, credit really goes to another 2011 Memphis CM but I’ll share it here. I’m convinced that the number 1 thing Teach for America looks for in a CM is non-stop, 100% dogged perseverance. They know they can’t train us the way we need to be trained. They know…

read more »
Aug 18 2011

Let’s Talk About Rigor

And how it barely exists in Tennessee. I teach 7th grade math and my students are given calculators on the TCAP. That means that what I’m teaching them right now (adding and subtracting fractions) doesn’t mean anything. They don’t really need to know order of operations or any mathematical operations. And it should come as…

read more »
Aug 16 2011

I am a teacher.

The first week has been crazy. I can’t believe tomorrow I’ll have been teaching for 8 days. That’s about 46 hours in front of children. I had 16 at institute. However, I would much rather have had more students than more time teaching. Getting 30 students to stay quiet is so so so much different…

read more »
Jul 31 2011

Finally have a job!

After a whirlwind week, I found out on Wednesday that I’ll be teaching 7th grade math. I got a call on Monday night from a high school to see if I wanted to interview there. I arranged to interview at 9:30 the next morning. When I woke up I had an email from another school…

read more »
Jul 22 2011

Still unplaced…

So in-service starts in a week and a sizable number of my corps remains unplaced, including me. There are about 90 people still without positions, of 175. It’s so frustrating especially while I sit through sessions that I know would be helpful if I had a placement, a subject, a grade level, but the landscape…

read more »
Jul 07 2011

Preparing for Institute

I write this on the night before the last day of institute. I want to follow up on this post (which I found INCREDIBLY helpful) about how to “survive” institute, based on my experiences here in Atlanta. I don’t want to call these survival tips because, really, institute is not that bad. I wish it could…

read more »
Jul 04 2011

Placement, anyone?

So it has been quite a while since I posted. Since that time I graduated from college, drove to Memphis, drove to Atlanta, and survived 4 weeks of institute. What has not happened since then is I have not gotten a job (sorry, I really struggled with making that grammatically correct but it’s just not…

read more »
Apr 20 2011

A quick update

I’ve finally started my pre-institute work (that I received in the mail over a month ago…) so here’s to hoping I can get everything done. Finals end for me on May 17, and then I have senior week/graduation until May 22, and I have to be in Memphis May 30, so I don’t have much…

read more »

With graduation looming in the not-so-distant future and my arrival in Memphis scheduled for just one week after that, I have a lot on my mind. I haven’t started the pre-institute work yet and I’m diving into the busiest part of my semester right now. Whoops. Hopefully I can get started soon but I have…

read more »
Apr 05 2011

Sorry it took me so long

I’ve been wanting to start this blog but couldn’t come up with a title for it, so my account has been languishing for over two months. However, today I found out that I passed the math ck and middle school ck Praxis tests so I decided to start this. I was accepted in January…

read more »

About this Blog

Experiencing the Mighty Mississippi and Memphis

Middle School

Subscribe to this blog (feed)