Miss Bennett in the Bay

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › Second Year

Jun 17 2009

It’s Over!

Well, I did it. I survived two years as a Teach for America corps member. I still have not quite gotten used to the fact that I am now a TFA alumna. I probably don’t have closure yet because I’m not finished moving out of my classroom. Yesterday we drove Jess’s stuff up to Oakland,…

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We are in the final stretch. For all intents and purposes, school is already over; I just have to keep my students occupied for the next 5 days. Coming into the final stretch, my students were this close to meeting the Big Goal. We only had a few standards that they hadn’t quite mastered yet,…

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May 23 2009


Does anybody else out there ever randomly get hit with a terrible case of homesickness? It’s funny how it can sneak up on you sometimes. Like one time, last year, I was driving home on the 101 North and feeling fine after a decent Friday workday. I was kind of on autopilot, like normal since…

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May 16 2009


Man, if every month was like the month of May, I would be a teacher forever. No, seriously. This month is the best month I’ve had so far as a corps member. I like to think that this is more than just situational- that I personally have something to do with it. First, let’s examine…

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May 07 2009

The End is Near

There are exactly 25 more days of school. The CST is over. The days are warmer. And the children are going completely crazy. Case in point: on Tuesday we were out with our Sports 4 Kids coach for an extended play as a reward for finishing the test. Jess and I brought our classes out…

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Apr 20 2009

Spring/Winter/Summer Break

Well, it was a pretty crazy week in Ms. Bennett’s life. Scott and I flew to Colorado for spring break, where it blizzarded and snowed a foot in Denver. Then, we came back to San Jose to 94 degrees and a broken air conditioner. Oh, and no air conditioning in the classroom, either. But what…

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Apr 04 2009


One of the biggest criticisms of Teach for America corps members is that they “aren’t dedicated enough.” They cut-and-run after only two years of service, leaving their school worse off than before. They couldn’t possibly make a lasting impact in that amount of time, so why would we want to have them around? I am…

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Mar 21 2009

Investment Fail

Yesterday, I gave my students individual graphs that show their growth so far this year in reading. (Our class average growth so far this year is .94 years!) Most of my students have made pretty remarkable progress so far, but one student, G, has made literally no growth. When I say no growth, I mean…

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Mar 16 2009

Spring Conference and Moving On

This Saturday, we had the Bay Area Spring Conference, which is pretty much the last official TFA thing I will do as a corps member (with the exception of our Alumni Sendoff in the spring.) My first thought when I walked in the door? Damn, there are a lot of ’08 corps members. Their corps…

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Mar 09 2009

Overdue and Overstretched

I haven’t posted in a little while because, honestly, I didn’t feel I had much to post about. I’ve been very bogged down in the daily grind of the mid-second semester. I have been spending some time figuring out what I’m going to do next year, but until I get all my loose ends tied…

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Feb 26 2009

“Yeah, but…”

Today, Ms. Snyder was out and had a sub. I have recess duty this week, and this morning I saw some of her kids playing around near the bathrooms, clearly breaking the rules. Me: Ms. Snyder’s students! Come over here! (Students run to me with that guilty look) Me: I know you all know the…

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Feb 19 2009


I can’t believe it. The California legislature actually approved the state budget. I hope they start working on next year’s budget, like, right now so we don’t have this problem again.

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Feb 08 2009

Like a Robot

Sometimes, I can’t help but feel like I’m being chewed up and spit out by the public education system in this country. There are just so many things wrong with it. When I really stop and take it all in, it’s completely overwhelming. Incompetent administrators, teachers, and politicians running the show without any opposition at…

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Jan 31 2009

A Major Award

Apparently, someone besides my mother reads my blog. Angela, of The Cornerstone Blog and The Cornerstone for Teachers, has featured one of my posts as one of the January 2009 Cornerstone Accolades. This post received the “Best Post on Teacher Accountability Award,” which makes me feel pretty darn good about myself. It’s nice to get…

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Jan 24 2009

Up and Down

This week was one of those up and down kind of weeks- the kind where I simultaneously love my job and yet question why in the heck I want to keep doing it. First, two really touching stories. Yesterday, we had International Day in my class. The kids were invited to bring in food from…

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Jan 17 2009

Crazy Week

It has been an exhausting, crazy week. I worked all last weekend. I also realized yesterday that I have literally worked at home every single day since coming back from Colorado on January 3. So, I’m not working this weekend. My bag is in the closet. I’m taking some well-deserved freedom. I even saw a…

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Jan 03 2009

Teaching: Job? Profession? Career?

I finally managed to get my hands on the summer issue of One Day, the Teach for America alumni magazine. (For some reason, they send it to my parents’ house, even though they have my current mailing address.) In this issue, alumni were asked how they would reinvent the profession of teaching (provided, of course,…

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Dec 21 2008

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the day before Christmas break, my students gave to me… 12 birthday stickers 11 colored pages 10 happy smiles 9 chocolate pieces 8 tiny candles 7 Christmas songs 6 funny snapshots 5 great big hugs 4 silly jokes 3 head aches 2 candle holders and one giant Toblerone! I love being a teacher on…

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Dec 07 2008

$300,000? Really?

This week, we received notice that the superintendent of our district had quit. The report was that she had received almost $300,000 in severance pay- more than she should have gotten according to her contract. Really? The State of California is going bankrupt and our school district is spending money on someone who doesn’t even…

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Nov 16 2008

Wait a Minute…

It’s odd to me how different the second year is from my first. About this time last year is when my memory comes back. No joke, everything about the first 2 and a half months of school last year has been wiped from my memory. The stress of the constant survival mode of that time…

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Oct 28 2008

Up The Down Staircase

I know that at some point, my mother once spoke to me about the novel Up the Down Staircase. I hadn’t picked it up to read until recently, and I find myself instantly sucked into a book about myself. Well, not entirely. I don’t teach high school. And there’s a little bit more technology these…

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Oct 20 2008

Curse You, October

October, How I Hate You. A poem by Ms. Bennett I hate the way I’m working 14-hour days I hate the way I’m planning And living in a haze. I hate the way you tempt Children with Halloween I hate the way they crave the candy I hate the way they scream. I hate how…

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Oct 13 2008

Teaching As Leadership

This year, I’ve been able to take on a lot more leadership roles at my school. I’ve spent a lot more time working with my principal and trying to really organize things. I’m the chair of the safety committee, and I feel much more like a real teacher. As opposed to, say, a college graduate…

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Sep 30 2008

Writer’s Workshop

One of the coolest new things that I’ve been doing this year in my classroom is writer’s workshop. The kids get to work at their own pace on a piece of writing, and I give mini-lessons on things they should consider while writing. It’s great. For the first round, we are writing personal narratives based…

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Sep 27 2008

Water Bottle

People around here are saying we are in the midst of an Indian Summer. (Which, according to Wikipedia, is technically incorrect, but nevertheless, it’s been very hot.) Combine that heat with picture day on Friday, and you get some crazy behavior. I went out to the yard to pick up my kids after lunch. There…

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"All that is gold does not glitter, not all who wander are lost." -J. R. R. Tolkien

Bay Area
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Elementary Education

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