Passing in Philly

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jul 06 2008

I think…

the powdered eggs at institute are laced with aluminum.

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Jul 02 2008

B is for Barrising, Balance, and Believes

My old co-worker says it with emphasis. “Em-Barrassing.” His “B” sounds as heavy as his regret. Here are some emBarrassing stats from my first week of institute: Spent over five hours (and counting) planning one 60 minute lesson plan. I literally take five seconds to plan out every single second of my class period. Got…

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Jun 23 2008

Five for Now

There are several observations that need to be recorded. Observation 1: There is a shocking amount of disorganization at the administrative level within the School District of Philadelphia. Today, I and other corps members were expecting to carry through with our respective scheduled interviews with our respective principals. Some cancelled. Mine came late and forced…

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Jun 22 2008

I’ve Been Here Before

This setup is a lot like band camp, ain’t it? Let’s run through the check-list: You wake up before the city does, and work on four-hours of sleep. Teach For America herds you into dining halls to eat processed food in under 30 minutes. There are tireless second-year kids and energetic yet wanton first-year members.…

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Jun 11 2008


“Still going to Killadelphia?” my closest of friends ask. And I laugh with them after the jab. It’s more of a joke than a caricature. Here is a fact about Killy. 400 bodies a year. That’s slightly more than one person down a day. My mother–who has been unhappy with my joining of TFA from…

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May 27 2008

East Coast v. No Coast

I have a classmate from Philadelphia. Let’s call him Bobby. For the past two weeks Bobby and I discussed my uneasiness, spiritedness, and other assorted emotions toward the East Coast. “Have you ever been?” He asked. I shook my head and told him that I am one of those corn-fed Midwesterners. In Columbus Ohio, we…

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May 18 2008


Sometimes I wish getting through to kids were as easy as Hollywood. Will they all pass their test scores as breezily as a two minute montage? Then I wouldn’t have to grade anything. Today I watched the film Pride with Terrance Howard. Brief summary: black college graduate cannot find a job in segregated, 1970s Philly.…

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Apr 06 2008

Thoughts Before Institute

Two weeks ago I accepted my Teach For America offer. I’m going to be a Secondary English teacher in Philadelphia. I finally have the opportunity to become that English teacher I dreamed of being. I’d emulate the great instructors I had back in high school…except they taught in the suburbs, where concepts such as “taking…

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