Toni's Class

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › Teach For America

May 27 2012

What a year!

So… life got busy!  After the first week of school, things picked up so quickly that blogging was not a priority.  In the blink of an eye, the first year was over.  And what a year it was! Some thoughts… My students are incredible.  They will change the world.  I am excited to see what…

read more »
Aug 14 2011

One Week Down

Time is flying!  It is hard for me to believe that the first week of school is over! I spent the week before school started setting up my classroom, and I have been pleased with the results.  I also spent a great deal of time preparing my lesson plans.  Sometimes, it seems like I could…

read more »
Jul 31 2011

One Week Until the Students Arrive

Time is really flying now!  All of TFA’s summer training is over, and I am officially in the hands of my school district and school. Early last week, our school district hosted its orientation.  The orientation was wonderful—district leaders shared their mission and vision, along with a healthy dose of well-deserved district pride.  An incredibly…

read more »
Jul 24 2011

Round Zero

It is hard to believe that Round Zero has already come and gone. Round Zero was a four-day intensive training hosted by our Atlanta Teach for America staff, designed to prepare us for our next year of teaching.  Much of the training was focused specifically on the first eight weeks of school, which are rapidly…

read more »
Jul 12 2011

The Flaming Hot Cheeto Incident

On our last day of summer school, we threw a pizza party to reward our students for achieving certain goals in connection with their academic performance and behavior.  We also had some chips available.  Chips have been a very popular reward in our summer school reading class, especially Flaming Hot Cheetos.  The Flaming Hot Cheetos…

read more »
Jul 09 2011


A few days ago, our class was divided into groups.  The groups were diligently answering questions on a worksheet.  A student in one of the groups raised his hand.  “Mrs. T, I don’t understand this question.” The question pertained to information in a pie chart.  The pie chart purported to show the percentages of races…

read more »
Jul 06 2011

One More, Please

Each day, we have a period we call academic intervention.  Academic intervention is a period in which four teachers divide their time among the sixteen students in our class.  We can work one-on-one or in small groups.  We can review materials covered earlier in the day in class.  We can go over individual assessments to…

read more »
Jul 02 2011

Teacher is the Student

I once (rather arrogantly) told my husband “Some people follow rules; others make them.” Let me tell you how those words taste… I have a student who is incredibly bright.  She consistently participates in class, makes keen observations, and asks relevant, insightful questions.  She performs well on most of her assessments.  She is extremely likeable. …

read more »
Jun 28 2011

I Know.

One of the most exciting things I have experienced as a teacher at Institute so far is the enthusiasm in the eyes of a student who has done well. Very few, if any, of my students look enthused as they walk through the classroom door in the morning.  It’s early.  It’s summer.  Their friends are…

read more »

I don’t even know where to start.  I was going to write about the insane Institute schedule, but I think I will pass.  Just note that everything you have heard about Institute is absolutely true.  Mornings start at 4 am and end at 10 pm.  Six hours of sleep is best-case scenario.  And your brain…

read more »
Jun 05 2011

Atlanta Induction, Days 3 and 4

The final days of the Atlanta Induction were just as full and informative as the first two.  On Day 3, corps members divided up according to the districts in which they would be teaching and loaded buses for bus tours of their respective districts.  The bus tours were guided by representatives of the school district…

read more »
Jun 02 2011

Atlanta Induction, Days 1 and 2

Atlanta’s Induction started on May 31, and what a wild ride it has been! I checked into Induction, held at Atlanta’s Georgia Tech, around lunchtime.  The check-in process was a breeze, largely because of the voluminous information Teach for America circulated months in advance to facilitate the process.  We received schedules, books, parking passes, wireless…

read more »
May 25 2011

Getting Ready for the Summer

Although things have been pretty quiet here on the blog, I have been steadily preparing for a summer of training.  Induction starts on Tuesday, and the adventure officially begins! I have spent the last few months reading fairly voluminous pre-Institute materials, watching video clips of teachers in action, and listening to podcasts of teachers telling…

read more »
Feb 23 2011

A Note to My Teachers

As I prepare to enter my first year teaching, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about my own teachers.  It is interesting to reflect on your own teachers as an adult.  And a bit surreal.  I would love to sit and have a cup of coffee with many of them!  And who…

read more »
Feb 10 2011

The First Test in Ten Years

After Teach for America informed me that I would be teaching social studies, they indicated that the next step was registering for the GACE (Georgia Assessment for the Certification of Educators) examinations.  The purpose of the GACE is to assess the knowledge and skills of prospective Georgia public school educators. The GACE is required for…

read more »
Jan 27 2011


Once you are accepted into Teach for America, you still have to get a job with a school system in your placement region.  To facilitate that, Teach for America set up an interview fair with one of Atlanta’s school systems earlier this year. I continue to be extremely impressed with Teach for America’s organization and…

read more »

After making the decision to pursue a position with Teach for America, I started the application process.  As most of you are aware, the application and selection process for Teach for America is quite thorough.  Here are my general experiences with the process. The written application is thorough, but not terribly burdensome.  You must include…

read more »
Jan 19 2011

The Journey to TFA

When I left my law firm, I did not immediately search for a new career. I don’t want to get into a tremendous amount of detail about why I chose to pursue a career in education, but I will say that I wanted to pursue work that would allow me the opportunity to change individual…

read more »
Jan 17 2011

Recovering Attorney

After I gave my notice to my law firm and before I considered or committed to Teach for America, I experienced a lot of different emotions.  Here are a few excerpts of things I wrote during that time. “Today, I gave my notice….  How do I feel?  Relieved.  And slightly terrified.” … “It has been…

read more »
Jan 15 2011

The Start

I get a lot of questions about quitting the law.  “How could you do it?”  “Were you scared?”  “Do you think you could go back?”  So the day before I gave my notice, I started writing about it.  Hopefully, some of my thoughts and feelings at the time will answer some of those questions. Here…

read more »
Jan 14 2011

The Big Announcement

I am so proud to announce that I have joined Teach for America’s 2011 corps!  After practicing law for eight years, I finally decided to shake things up in the story of my life and pursue something I find incredibly rewarding and meaningful.  Starting in the fall of 2011, I will be working to eliminate…

read more »

About this Blog

Thoughts and Experiences of a Recovering Attorney

Metro Atlanta
Middle School
Social Studies

Subscribe to this blog (feed)