Miss Bennett in the Bay

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Aug 22 2010

Results and Reflections

The 2010 CST results have finally come in. I must admit, I was a little hesitant to find them out, given that I’ve left the classroom and knowing the results would not help me in any way. But, a dinner party with old coworkers changed that. There were whisperings of my results, but I refused…

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Aug 04 2010


It has been quite the crazy summer. I managed to survive the end of my last year of teaching without losing my sanity (but only barely.) Then I spent the first few weeks of summer preparing for my wedding, which went off beautifully. I am now no longer Ms. Bennett; I am Mrs. Williams! How…

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May 22 2010

Project Fail

My life keeps getting in the way of my Happiness Project. Despite my best efforts to completely separate work life and home life, two weeks ago I was faced with deadlines and I was forced to bring work home for the first three nights of the week. This, combined with Saturday school that weekend, made…

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Apr 27 2010

Tossing and Turning

Since Sunday, I have been working on my first two resolutions: get more sleep, and maintain household cleanliness. So far, heading to bed by 10 has been working out pretty well for me. At 9:30 each night, I’ve gone into the bathroom to start getting ready for bed. Then, I get in bed and read…

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Apr 25 2010


The next step in my Happiness Project is to create resolutions. What am I actually going to do to make myself happier? After all, it is the pursuit of happiness. I think happiness is something you find or create, not something that just happens to you. All this time I’ve been sitting around, wallowing in…

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Apr 24 2010

Starting up my Project

In the interest of jumping right into my own Happiness Project, I joined The Happiness Project Toolbox, where I can organize my thoughts about my project and see what other folks are doing for theirs. I suppose it’s a bit of double work to be using those tools and blogging about my project, but oh…

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Apr 22 2010

The End

I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. After months of soul-searching and thinking about the future, I’ve decided that teaching simply isn’t the profession I’m meant to have. I’ve worked excessively hard over the past three years, and to be honest, I’m exhausted. This isn’t fun. It doesn’t make me happy. To get anywhere you…

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Jan 26 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

When it rains, it pours. That has certainly been true here in the Bay Area for the past week. We’re experiencing that classic Bay Area winter- a few weeks of rain, followed by spring. Rainy day after rainy day is making everyone nuts. When kids get wet, the extra crazy comes out. I believe that…

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Dec 02 2009

A Day In the Life…

I know much of my regularly-scheduled programming is much more meta-analysis than some other teacher blogs out there, which sort of helps me keep my life in perspective. I try to be a big-picture kind of person, particularly when reflecting on my practice. Otherwise, the day-to-day would totally wear me down. But, much of teaching…

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Nov 25 2009

Visiting Homes and Being Thankful

Every teacher at my new school is required to do 40 home visits with our students. This means that I will visit half of my students. If I were super woman, I would do all 80 home visits, but, seriously, you have to draw the line somewhere. If I visited 80 homes, I would never…

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Nov 14 2009


Well, I completely fell off the blogosphere radar for the month, but, despite that casualty, I managed to survive the absolutely horrid month of October. Mostly only through sheer force of will on my part, and then only just barely. When I think about what happened to me during the past 31 days, my mind…

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Sep 27 2009

You Make Me Feel So Emotional

We’ve just finished week four of school, which is usually a signal that everybody is getting pretty sick and tired of each other. Sick is definitely a part of the daily vocabulary at school; several teachers have had to take multiple days off to recover from whatever child-induced illness they may have contracted, and the…

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Sep 10 2009

The Phone Rings

These days, whenever the phone rings past 8 p.m. I pretty much assume it’s one of my students or their parents. This is because a) they’re pretty much the only people who have my home phone number and b) who else would call me on a weeknight? If you’ve ever talked with young kids on…

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Sep 09 2009

Chewy Dewey

Today, I was sitting with my last class of the day, trying to get them to talk to each other about their Goals. They are 7. It has been in the upper 80s in San Jose since school started last week. When those two things combine, the last class of the day tends to be…

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Aug 29 2009


We start with kids on Monday. My classroom is ready, relatively speaking. All the crucial things are up on the walls and I’ve got my plans and copies all set. It’s going to be an awesome first day. One thing that I have been aware of this week in making poster after poster is that…

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Aug 18 2009

Gearing Up

Today was a 10-hour work day, and yet I am home feeling much more energized than I have felt during those 8-hour days we’ve had thus far. The reason for this is that today was my first official day in my new classroom with the opportunity to unpack the massive amount of stuff I brought…

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Aug 09 2009

Lessons Learned

Switching to my new school is like being a first year teacher all over again. We’ve only been in professional development for a week, and I’m already overwhelmed with all of the assessments to write, plans to make, and just plain thinking that I have to do to be ready for my students at the…

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Aug 01 2009

Start Your Engines

I start my training for my new charter school on Monday. We have an entire month before school starts to plan, build a staff culture, and get our classrooms ready. I could not be more excited. I’ve spent my summer reading books about teaching (including The Cornerstone for Teachers, The High Trust Classroom, and What…

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Jul 23 2009

The Widget Effect

How do you know if your child is being educated by an excellent teacher? A mediocre one? A poor one? According to a new study by The New Teacher Project, the only reliable way to tell is by word of mouth from other parents. But wait, you say. Teachers are evaluated by their administrators, right?…

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Jul 04 2009


Every summer (or, more accurately, each summer I’ve been associated with TFA) I find myself stepping back from the day-to-day grind of a classroom teacher and start thinking about the education problem on a much broader scale. I think about what it would take to finally close the achievement gap permanently. I think about the…

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Jul 02 2009

Review: A Mathematician’s Lament

In an effort to Continuously Increase my Effectiveness, I have spent quite a bit of time this summer reading various books and articles about teaching. I recognize that I am by no means an expert teacher; part of the reason I wanted to move to a charter school was that I knew that they would…

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Jun 20 2009

Atlas Prep

Hmm. If I could at all fathom teaching middle school, I would apply to Atlas Prep in a heartbeat. Seriously, the only thing that would hold me back (aside from the fact that I’ve got a contract at another great school in California and I’m really excited about it) would be teaching middle school kids.…

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

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