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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 11 2014

The Final Report

This will probably be my last blog for TeachForUs.  It has been three months since I left teaching and TFA.  As I wrote previously, I had a family problem that required us to re-engineer our lives to save our son.  Since moving to Oklahoma, he went off the deep end and we had to act quickly and decisively or he was going to end up in the juvenile correction system.
I’m happy to report that our effort and sacrifices paid off.  Our son turned the corner away from the path of misery toward one of happy success.  The key to that change was getting him out of public school.  To do this, one of us had to come home.  We had been able to live very comfortably on the salary of a teacher and a nurse, but to save our son, we decided that my wife would come home and I…

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I’ve written a couple of other blogs about my evolving attitudes on fixing the achievement gap.  This one will probably be the most personal out of all of them, because one of the big problems with the achievement gap has come home to roost in my family.  I have a wonderful son who came to…

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Nov 07 2013

Finding what works

What does work look like?  To some teachers, it’s the sound of pencils quietly scratching on paper and students breathing.  I have tried my best to get there and it just isn’t going to happen.  But I’ve made a discovery.  This particular group of students this year works while they’re talking and laughing.  I know…

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One of the reasons I see education devolving to a colonial model rather than a nationalized system is the inability to separate teaching values and culture from math, science, and reading.  No matter what you teach, you’re teaching values and culture. In our school we begin the day by saying the Pledge of Allegiance and…

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I just made it to October break in my second year.  I thought about saving these ideas up for a final wrap-up at the end of my TFA experience, but I figured, “What the hell!”  Let me provide a little background for my opinions.  That way, Gary What’s-His-Name will know what he’s dealing with if…

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Sep 20 2013


Teaching in an  inner-city school can be heart-wrenching, as many of my colleagues can verify.  This year, my second, the students at my school seem so much more disengaged.  Their behavior is atrocious.  I advocate constantly for my earnest students, but the bad actors take up all the air in the room. Every TFA video…

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Sep 01 2013

What you really wish it said

I spent part of my Labor Day weekend posting grades for the upcoming mid-term progress reports.  It’s hard to believe that next week is our fifth week back in school. The computer system we use for grades gives you a place to put some canned comments in.  It doesn’t let you put in anything you’d…

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Another week goes by.  This week’s major hurdle was having no air conditioning.  It’s 90-plus degrees outside, the windows in the class are bolted shut, covered with metal security screens, and the air conditioner doesn’t work.  Actually, it does put out cold air.  I just takes the humidity out of the air and leaks it…

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Aug 21 2013


Seventy-six miles from my home, an Australian ball player was brutally gunned down by three black youths who admit to killing the man because they were “bored.”  The youths had Facebook profiles that showed them holding guns and huge stacks of money.  It was not a secret that these kids were very bad people. Every…

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Aug 10 2013

Year two begins–reflections

There have been lots of changes this year, but some things remain the same.  Our school is still a construction site, but at least we’ve moved into the half that is finished.  The new classes are so nice.  You could take three of my old class and put it in my current room.  However, there…

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About this Blog

YOTFAO BACTAG = You only teach for America once, but always challenge the achievement gap.

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