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May 22 2013

Overheard in Chipotle…

“You were a real nice teacher, Mr. K!” -T.R., former student, after chatting with me for the first time in 2 years.  I’m working in DC for the summer, and I’m living in the same neighborhood as before. This, of course, means the inevitable–bumping into students on the street. I was standing in line at…

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Teacher: “Good morning, [custodian's name]! Sorry to bother you, but I have a request. Is there any toilet paper? The staff bathroom is out.” Custodian: “You know what? We’re actually really low on toilet paper right now. Like really low.” (awkward pause) Teacher: “And…?” Custodian: “And… Uhh, okay, let me go check the first floor…

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Student 1: “Killers” is the realest. They call him the modern day Tupac. Student 2: Tupac? Who’s Tupac? Everyone else: #$!#!%#!!!@@%!!#!*& WHAT!?!?! (small riot ensues) Student 3: I’m dead serious now—do you know who Tupac is? Student 2: I don’t know who Tupac is. Everyone else: … (stares of disbelief) Student 3: Okay, okay, so…

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Student 1: (proudly sharing cell phone photos with other students) That’s some Patron in my hands right there. See? See? Teacher: (concerned expression on face) Not good. Patron’s not good. How old are you again? And put that away! Student 1: (ignoring query and instruction) What do you prefer, Mr. K? Student 2: (loud interjection) BOOKS!…

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Student: (pleadingly) “Mr. K, I’m telling you, I don’t do anything but As! I just don’t do it!” Mr. K: (matter-of-factly) “I hear you. When I was a student I didn’t do anything but As, either…” Student: (dramatic pause and then an SMH) “You gettin’ me guh.” -Star student, attempting to gain some sympathy from…

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Student 1: (frustratingly flops book on desk and gives evil eye to Students 2 and 3) “Excuse me!–I’m trying to read here. You’re being so VERBOSE!” Student 2: “Shut up. You’re not actually reading. Stop making such PRETENTIOUS comments!” Student 3: (long mumbling, incoherent ramble about how she is “guh” because of the intentional use…

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one day

The TFA 20th Anniversary Summit was mind-blowing, both in scale and inspiration. In terms of scale, I’ve been to numerous events at the convention center, but nowhere have I seen one that has sprawled across so much of the center’s space. In terms of inspiration, I expected big things and got much more than that.…

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Sep 24 2010

Overheard in a DCPS Hallway…

Girl 1: Where is [the man who stands in the halls during passing period]?” Girl 2: “I don’t know.” Girl 1: “We can go to class, then!” Girl 2: “It doesn’t matter. The bell already rung, girl.  We gotta go to tardy hall.” Girl 1: “Oh, right…” -Pair of students realizing, after exiting student bathroom…

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“Come ON, Mr. K!–you’ve got a room full of black kids begging you to read and you’re going to deny them?!” – Student, utterly amazed that teacher would cut off independent reading block at 30 minutes. My students clearly know about stereotypes. The implied stereotype that this student refers to is that black students don’t…

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Aug 29 2010

Overheard in a DCPS Classroom…

“Mr. K, what am I supposed to do?  There ain’t no more desks.” -Tardy student, observing that her tardiness led to the denial of an opportunity to find a good desk in the classroom. This first week has been somewhat of shock to my system–albeit a positive one. Having just finished a semester in which…

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“Teachers, when the tardy bell rings, close and lock your doors.  Do not let any students in after the bell.  All students in the hallway will be swept into ISS [in-school suspension].” -Administrator, outlining school’s new hall sweep plan and receiving thunderous applause from staff in return. The sound of these words were beautiful.  My…

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Observers like to point out that TFA is a cult. We have bounteous acronyms that only we, as CMs, know. We all have identical–or, at the very least, extremely similar–views on the achievement gap.  We all go through the same indoctrination process, the same rites of passage.  We all have, as a result, similar teaching…

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“Mr. K, why you always gotta have everything for a solution [sic]!?” -Groaning student responding to teacher’s suggestion that she stop complaining about the rain on the National Mall and instead share a spot under the teacher’s umbrella. ***** “They don’t even let you put your head down; they make you pick it up! And,…

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“DAMN! It feel good in here!” “HALLELUJAH! Hallelujah! Hallelujah.  I’m sorry, I just needed to sing that song.” “Oh damn! Let me walk back in here again. (exit and reenter.) Damn son!” “AWWW yeah! It feel goooooooooood!” “Un-unh!  This not happenin’!” -2nd period English students at 10:19am, surprised by the sudden sensation of A/C-caused cool…

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“But miss, I’ve gotta answer this message–it’s from my parole officer!” -Defiant student, responding to teacher after being reprimanded for using his cell phone in class.

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“Oh yeah, I bought this over the weekend.  There’s no way I’m carrying around all this $h!t anymore.” -Corps Member at 5:58am, showing off his shiny new rolling suitcase, which carries class materials, papers and other (heavy) teacher paraphernalia.

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*Sputter* *Cough* *Gasp* “Oh geez…” -Corps Member (who did not sleep the night before) at 7:49am, choking on water after falling asleep mid-sip.

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“I feel like I can vomit out my lesson plan and still have it be better than what I’m actually giving my CMA [Corps Member Advisor]!” – Distraught Corps Member, comparing, while walking to the Temple University dining hall at 5:38am, the theoretical ejected contents of her stomach to her similarly-theoretical lesson plan.

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Jun 26 2009

Overheard in Adams Morgan…

“How much do you reckon we widen the [achievement] gap in our first month?” – Corps member, while pondering, over a beer, the temporal dimension of our quest to help eliminate the achievement gap.

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About this Blog

Really, "A Blog Covering Dilemmas in Education": A (former) English teacher's reflections…

Region
D.C. Region
Grade
High School
Subject
English

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