Making the Desert Bloom

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

As readers of my blog know, I have been thinking a lot of happiness recently. With the excuse of wanting to spend at least part of a Barnes and Noble gift card on myself (What does it say that my initial instincts are to spend it all on my students?), I bought Eric Weiner’s book The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World. I bought the book since I wanted to strike a balance between reading about happiness and fascinating travel literature for my beach reading in Costa Rica (yes, I am a spoiled teacher vacationing with my family on the beach). The book details his journey around the world searching for happiness in a variety of locations.

I spent much of this afternoon at the pool reading the section of Weiner’s book on Iceland. While Iceland is a small, wealthy, and ethnically homogenous nation,…

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It’s no secret that most first-year teachers (especially TFA Corps Members) are not happy during much of their first year teaching. Facing an incredibly challenging job without all of the skills to succeed is difficult for anyone no matter how much support you have. I am not making this statement to indict anyone, but rather…

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Dec 10 2012

Making the Comeback

One of my favorite parts of my job is showing my students that I am human who cares about them rather than just being a mean teacher re-directing their behavior and leading a boring classroom. I have a few ways of completing this task. One way is that I allow any students who want to…

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Nov 22 2012


Like most teachers, I wanted to impart many (but not all) of the values of Thanksgiving onto my students. As a result, this past week’s writing prompt (to help them prepare for the 5th grade writing exam) focused on what they are thankful for. I wanted to share both my model essay that I shared…

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Nov 12 2012

Is it My Classroom or Our Classroom?

One of the biggest internal struggles I have been having as a teacher is related to the sense of ownership in the classroom along with the sense of leadership and responsibility for my students. My school makes it very clear that each classroom is the teacher’s classroom and the students should feel as though they…

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Today is Nevada Day (Observed), and as a result, I had my first real school day off since Labor Day (I am not counting Rosh HaShannah or Yom Kippur since I was in services). Instead of spending another morning and afternoon of prep or taking a trip out of town (like I had originally planned),…

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Note: Since I have fallen behind on blog posts, I am writing a series of rambling mini-updates here. I hope you find them somewhat illuminating.  Once of the cliches that I used when talking about teaching before I started teaching was that I was far more scared for Day 34 than I was for Day…

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Oct 01 2012

The Bureaucracy of the Job

The last two weeks have been insanely busy even by my standards. Even when I am not working, I am always thinking about teaching my kids, and everything I have to do get ready for them. However, I find that I spend so much of my time doing things that are indirectly related to my…

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Sep 16 2012

Is it too late to take control?

I had a terrible week in class behavior management, and it’s my fault. Throughout the first few weeks, I had not be able to get the class quiet enough, but this week was far worse. With the exception of formal assessment times, the class was so loud and disruptive that we didn’t get through all…

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Sep 10 2012

Working in a Low-Trust Environment

I have been fortunate throughout most of my life to live and work in high-trust environments. I went to a high school where everyone routinely left their backpacks outside of their lockers and hardly anything happened to the backpacks. At college, I once left a window fan in the campus center for 11 days and…

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Las Vegas Valley
Elementary School
Elementary Education

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