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Aug 16 2012

Year two: Week one.

My classroom was set up, my outfit was picked out, and I was mentally ready for the first day of school. Then, the day before the first day I broke a bone in my foot. I spent half the day in the ER getting x-rays and meeting nurse practioners, but the end result was that…

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Feb 26 2012

Musings on Looping Up

My principal asked us to fill out a form specifying our grade level preferences for next year, and my number one preference is to loop up with my class. I don’t that it’s been done much in TFA or at my school, but all the research indicates that looping up with kids maximizes instructional time,…

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Jan 28 2012

Even higher

Since the Christmas break I’ve revamped a number of things in my classroom, and transitions are tighter, expectations are higher, and work is more challenging than ever. I refuse to clean up or push in chairs after my kids, and the worst punishment I give is a student has to stand in front of the…

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Nov 16 2011

Star Scholars

I feel really proud that my kids have internalized what it means to be a Star Scholar, and they actually want to do their homework! I also really love that I have good relationships with all my kids… management is so much more effective when the kids know I love them and think they’re smart.…

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Nov 03 2011


So I know I’ve been just about the worst blogger ever since things have gotten crazy busy at school, but now I vow to reflect more regularly through blogging. Since the last time I posted I was switched with the pre-k teacher; yup, now i teach 4 year-olds. Apparently the other teachers was “too stern” with…

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Sep 06 2011


Every time I think there have been gains made, it seems like a game of 2 steps forward and 1 step back. For example, one of my students had been behaving so much better, and seemed to really want to improve. When he heard I was getting my master’s degree, he quickly updated his big…

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Aug 26 2011

Week 3

They say that if you have a successful first 6 weeks, you’ll be much more likely to have a good rest of the year. Because I’m nearly halfway done with my first 6 weeks, it’s fairly safe to say that things are ok. Kids are compliant and on-task, the class is mostly organized, and they…

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Aug 09 2011

1 Day Gone

With only 179 days between my students and the fourth grade, I know I have a ton of work to do. Today went well all things considered, but I’m ready to unveil my big goals and vision tomorrow. I’m layin’ investment on thick! A few kids had self-control issues today, so I’ve contacted their parents…

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Aug 08 2011

Ge to work!

On the eve of my first day of teaching, I can’t believe how prepared and ready I am to change lives! I’m excited to meet all my new students, get to know them and their parents, and help them set goals that really push them to the highest level of rigor. I don’t know how…

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Aug 03 2011


Today was the first day at my new placement school with the whole staff. I had nightmares of condescending veteran teachers, overbearing grade chairs, and a dispassionate principal. I could’ve have been more wrong. The staff at my school seems to be fun-loving, supportive, and helpful. My grade chair is amazing and promised that she…

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Jul 28 2011

Hard Work

I’ve never worked so hard for dinner in my life. Seriously, who knew lo mein would be such an adventure? But tonight, that adventure proved to be just what I needed to turn my mindset around. Let me back up and explain. Today I rented a zipcar (my scooter is still in the shop for…

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Jul 17 2011

Round 0

Who knew that moving would be so much work?! Living without hot water and internet is more difficult than I thought… it reminds me of the days I lived in India! At least I have some furniture and food now! In terms of TFA work, I’m working on drafting a vision and big goals for…

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Jul 12 2011

Bring it on!

Sitting at home on my oh-so-comfy bed, I realize that 6 weeks of my life have just flown by. There were tears all around the room as my collaborative group and I said goodbye to our faculty advisor, our students, and most importantly, each other on Friday. Our group of teachers has grown so close…

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Jun 30 2011

Seeing Change

Having finished hump day of my 3rd week teaching, I feel uneasy about the mixed emotions I have about my impact in the classroom. I’ve grown more than I could have imagined in the past weeks as a teacher, and two students in particular have flourished because of my personal efforts to invest and encourage…

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Jun 23 2011

Roller Coaster Day

Today was such a roller coaster day at my school! The kid I’ve been working on sight words with was able to help another kid with the words today which I could tell boosted his confidence. Then we played a sight word competition game, and he won because the word he happened to get was…

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Jun 22 2011

Week 2

So this week the novelty of having 4 new bright-eyed teachers wore off, and a case of “the Mondays” set in. Yesterady the kids were asleep during the morning and obnoxiously chatty during hte afternoon. My teaching partner had to yell over the kids to give them instructions and command their attention. Today I did…

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Jun 18 2011

First week as a teacher

So it’s finally Friday, and I’m beyond exhausted. My eyes are barely able to say open and it’s only 7:30pm. Early night for me! My first week, in retrospect, was actually quite good. I’ve grown and learned a lot already. I’m getting more comfortable with lesson planning, and I’ve learned enough about the kids to…

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Jun 14 2011

First Day as Ms. Allen

“Ms. Allen?” “Yes, Calieb?” “Are you gon’ teach us today?” “Yes, I am. Get excited!” As far as first days go, I can’t complain too much. There were no major disruptions, and my kids kept up with the material for the most part. I narrated behavior as incentive for them to stay on task, and…

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This week has felt like it was a month long so far because of all the information sessions we have endured and all the work we have submitted. Yesterday and today the reading teachers got to meet some of our students and administer a diagnostic reading test to gauge their reading level. The students I…

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Jun 05 2011

Anticipating Institute

Checking in to institute today seemed to me like a momentous occasion. We have been waiting for months to finally get into schools and learn about what it will take to be great teachers. This whole past week has prepared us with the mindset that TFA expects from us, and now that I know my…

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Jun 04 2011

Institute Prep

The past two days have been an whirlwind of education, socialization and reflection. We heard a panel from our district speak about policy and education, met the First Lady of Georgia, visited the capital, toured our districts by bus, volunteered at local schools, and held discussions on diversity. The past few days have given me…

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Jun 02 2011


This has been the longest day of my life…. well, almost the longest day of my life. Yesterday after a blowout on the turnpike and a check engine light, I made it to Georgia Tech safely. I arrived and was notified that I was expected to be clean and dressed business casual in an hour…

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May 22 2011

Summer Observations

As part of our assigned pre-institute work, corps members are required to observe at least two classrooms in the community and record our observations about teacher and student behavior. The goal is to pinpoint which behaviors encourage academic achievement and see them in action. The class I observed was a multi-age kindergarten and first grade…

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May 17 2011

Hello world!

There are fifteen days until induction into the Metro Atlanta TFA family, and I am so stinkin’ exicted! Although I still have a bit of pre-institute work to finish up before I head out, a lot of my things are packed, and I’ve visited Atlanta twice so I feel pretty confident about navigating the city.…

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