Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 25 2013

Time to Write

My fingers itch.  I need to write.  Not the stories of the seemingly absurd happenings of my classrooms in years 1, 2 or 3.  Those are anecdotes that in reality I share with thousands of other first, second, and third year teachers.  They are entertaining anecdotes, perhaps self-aggrandizing narratives that avoid telling the horrifying story behind them of under prepared, under supported teachers serving our forgotten children.  I need to write for change.

My first post here has haunted me since I hit “publish”.  Five years later I am still driving that van, but I see myself with one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand reaching out desperately (or maybe persistently) to grab on to another teacher’s van while saying, “Here, let’s drive this one together. No one should be behind the wheel alone.”

I write weekly in my head, while I do my grocery shopping.  I write twitter-style, 144 characters or less, headlines of my next Huffington Post submission (of which there have been none) while checking the ripeness of avocados and stocking up on frozen lunches.

So rather than wait until they become something, I’m just going to put them out there and hope that you tell me what should become of them.

Headlines of a Grocery Store Blogger:

1.  Why I’m scared of the Common Core and How My School Leader’s Helping Me Get Over It

2. Making Math Education a Literacy Question (let’s kill the buzz term and get to the nitty-gritty reality of how we’re going to make that happen)

3. How My Students Taught Me the True Meaning of the Golden Rule (and why it took until I was 27 years old to learn it)

4. Since When is “Union” a Dirty Word? (Ok, since a while, I know.  But as I hear more from fellow charter teachers I realize that in some settings it can get you booed out of a room and in others can go so far as threaten your job.)

5.  Teaching Politicians to Talk to Me Like a Professional … or maybe: Teaching Myself to Talk to Politicians Like I’m a Professional

Or maybe the real route to take is trying to address some of these did-you-knows:

Why is it from 2001-02 to 2011-12, the average salaries for public school teachers changed -2.8%, adjusting for inflation?

California is number 1 in the United States in total personal income (surpassing number 2, Texas, by over $500,000,000,000), but is 41st in current expenditures for public K-12 Schools per $1,000 of personal income.

The average public school teacher salary for 2011-12 was $55,418.  I hesitate here because there are so many routes I could take for comparison.  Do I list the average cost of buying a house in my neighborhood?  The average salary of another profession? Or just compare my starting salary to my current salary and then my starting expertise to my current expertise?

The list is on going. I highly recommend checking out my source for this data, the NEA’s “Rankings and Estimates” 2012 report:

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    a Teach For America teacher’s blog

    Los Angeles
    Middle School

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