Shy Town

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Nov 21 2014

Rough Week

It was a rough week. One co-teacher needs surgery, the other needs a refresher course in teaching. One student needs a hug and reassurance that his parents do love him, even if they don’t love each other. One parent needs to hear that everything is okay, that her child, despite cognitive delays, is showing progress…

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Jul 07 2014

Educational System(ic) inequity

Over the weekend we attended a lecture about the Israeli education system. The speaker was Daphna Liel,  the education reporter for channel 2 news, the most watched news channel in Israel. Just to be clear, when I say “Israeli education system” this does not include anything that happens across the green line, in Palestinian territories,…

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May 18 2014


I was reading all these quotes by Haruki Murakami. Don’t ask me why. I was looking for something encouraging to say to a friend who was having a bad day. Haruki Murakami isn’t really the person you quote when you’re trying to make someone feel better. I was sitting on the floor of my classroom next…

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Jan 30 2014

Linked up

Read me. Eat me. Swallow me. Digest me.    I don’t completely agree with the rationalizations for all of these, but I won’t say I haven’t rolled my eyes at every single one of these statements when they’ve come up in my classroom.

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Jan 26 2014

Dear you

Note: I wrote all of this while spending Thanksgiving with my family and saved it as a draft, to finish at a later date. Clearly I forgot about it, till now. At the time I found my student’s concern endearing and adorable. Of course I was coming back to them. On December 23rd I lost…

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Nov 08 2013


A child threw a block at my head and then kissed me on the mouth. I’m pretty sure this is how abusive relationships (and the flu) start. So I’ve started an abusive relationship with a 4 year old.   My social life is clearly not improving.

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Oct 09 2013


Click this link Click play “…so tell me place doesn’t matter, that the neighborhoods that are predominantly healthy aren’t the same ones that are predominantly wealthy. Because when you’re not choosing between buying your medicine and your groceries, health doesn’t have to be a luxury, doesn’t have to be an abstract concept presented in academic…

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Sep 11 2013


Last year my school lost their funding from CPS, which means we’re scrambling to operate with about $145K less in our budgets this year than last year. It means, if it wasn’t for TFA, I wouldn’t be getting paid till the end of October. So I called my MTLD and my placement director and it…

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Jul 14 2013


  I have so much to say and so little time. I just got back from Michigan, which was a truly tranformational experience and I’m about to head to Israel which I’m sure will be nothing less than amazing. Because I can’t really explain everything right now as I have graduate work due, and laundry…

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Apr 30 2013


Where have I been? Nowhere new.  I have so many mini stories, heartbreaking stories, funny stories about the things kids say and the way they think and I honestly wish I had been keeping up with this blog so I could share them with all of you, instead of just my parents..though sometimes I’m pretty…

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Jan 01 2013

Thank you

I’m from a small county in Virginia and that’s where I went for the holidays this year. Despite it’s size, it’s one of the wealthiest counties for it’s size in the nation and the public schools are amazing. I think I’ve mentioned before how lucky I am to have lived where I lived, and attended…

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Nov 28 2012

Look me in the eye

I’ve been ignoring this blog for awhile, for no other reason than I’ve been up to my eyeballs in red tape and assessments and long-term plans, short term plans, visions, and observations. Is that a good enough excuse? Anyways, I’m not doing well, in fact I’m doing pretty shitty. I’m  sure sometimes everyone feels like…

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Sep 16 2012


I’m having trouble motivating my kids. I’m getting so exhausted repeating myself all the time. Repeating instructions, repeating rules, repeating expectations and constantly expecting a different result…isn’t that the definition of insanity?   I guess it’s only the 2nd week…

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Sep 07 2012

First, second day

So I got a job, finally. And it’s a job that isn’t affected by the teacher’s strike which will start on Monday. I’m teaching 10 (though I have yet to have all 10 show up for school) 3-5 year olds in a community based organization (CBO) for half day pre-k. They’re pretty adorable kids and…

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Aug 16 2012

Snuggled in bed

I’m snuggled in bed in Humboldt Park on  a Thursday at 3 which can only mean one thing. That’s right, I haven’t been hired yet. I’m not very concerned, and my self-esteem has yet to take a huge hit despite the fact I am now in the last 10 corps members from ECE to still…

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Jul 27 2012

I’m currently on a train traveling from DC to RVA but a week ago I was my last day of teaching with my kids. A week ago I was still Ms. Olivia, and a week ago I did not have Strep C.  Now institute is over, and I just regular Olivia, and I have amoxicillin…

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Jul 13 2012

DCA, DCgay.

We do these diversity dialogue sessions periodically during institute to help us reflect on our identities. They are technically known as “DCA: Diversity, Community, Action” (I think…?) and we usually split into groups based on what topics we’d like to discuss. Sometimes a Corps Member Advisor (CMA) leads a discussion, and sometimes it’s just another…

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Jul 12 2012


Hey all! just interviewed me and a member of my collab for their “Burning Questions” section on the site. It should go up tomorrow at sometime. TeacherPop is really great and it’s also helping promote the idea (as I like to put it) that teachers are people too. I think people sometimes think we’re…

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Jul 11 2012

More feedback

I talked to some TFA people from the nationals office today. They came in at 8:15 am when we had one student and we were just setting up. So they sat and asked me questions about my institute experience while I sorted blocks for my math lesson. It just furthered my belief that they really…

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Jul 10 2012


Today was rough.

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Jul 07 2012


I’ve noticed TFA does a lot of surveys. I must get a survey in my email about once a week, asking me what I think about my CMA, my region, my TS, my ECE cohort, my placement school, etc. I think it is great to request feedback and even better if you act on the…

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Ha, and here I was thinking it was a holiday celebrating America. Nope, just sitting here working on Lesson Plans, Management  Plans, OSAT data and whatever else my WIDWATW commands of me.  Happy 4th to every one!

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Jul 01 2012

Week 2, let’s do it.

So this week is the beginning of the second week of teaching and my third week in training. It’s also my birthday week, and the 4th of July holiday week. I’m already looking forward to sleeping in on the morning of the 4th when the kids (and therefore the teachers) don’t have school. This week…

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Jun 29 2012

In case you’re curious…

SnowyDayComprehension   Take a look at this if you’re wondering how much prep work it takes to read a story to kids.

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Jun 29 2012

I lost my voice

You know, because I wash my hands 6x more a day, I have gotten sick. That’s logical, right? Not. I get it, children have a million new germs on them that I’m not exposed to and now that I’ve been exposed to them, they’ve infected me and brought me into their germy little world. It’s…

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Little kids, big city, one me.

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