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May 14 2009

“School is not over!”

Suddenly, after a semester of “ok” to “pretty good” behavior in most of my classes, my students seem to have picked up the idea that the time has come to begin acting like buffoons. I am displeased. Examples: I rewarded about 40 of my “most well behaved” students with a field trip yesterday to a nearby college campus. At the end of the…

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Apr 13 2009


Student, who happens to be white: Ms. ____, where do you get those Starbucks energy drinks? Me: Oh, I stop at the gas station on my way to school — the Double Quick. Student (in a shocked, ingenuous whisper): Ms. ____, that’s where the black people go. (Silence) Student: I don’t mean no harm in it. That’s just…

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Apr 12 2009


On a rainy Sunday like today, I can’t help but curl up on the couch and write in my blog. Or at least think about it. I need to get reacquainted with this thing. As the months have marched on – as the weather has changed from Mosquito to Frost to Flood, and my teaching has gone from…

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Apr 10 2009

A Teacher from Carver Upper

“Do Now”: Please tear yourself away from your computer, make your way to the nearest bookstore, and pick up the current issue of Oxford American ( It’s a magazine that features writing from and about the South. You will physically need to get your butt to Borders because, tragically, the article I want you to read does not appear on the publication’s website —…

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Apr 03 2009


Fortunately:  We’ve been on a quest for background knowledge these past few days so that we can start reading Animal Farm next week. Because I studied Russian and Soviet politics and economics rather seriously in college, this has been an exciting time for me. I LOVE HISTORY! YAY!  Unfortunately: As much as I try to galvanize my…

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Mar 03 2009

I think we might be getting somewhere

As a written record to which I can refer on future days that are not as good…today I wrote down some humorous, sweet, and otherwise cool things my students said. Exasperated voices before the bell: “Sit down and be quiet so we can listen to music!!!” Cacophony: “I wanna be Creon (Antigone, Ismene, Choragos, etc.) today!” “Man, we do some…

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Feb 25 2009

Essay Land

To elaborate on a previous post (see January), Essay Land is a faraway place where students must go when they have been bad. After three warnings — for having their heads down, for example, or talking when they shouldn’t, or just generally “acting a fool” – students must write an essay on a topic of my choosing. They cannot get credit for…

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Jan 22 2009

Comments on a Thursday evening

So it looks like I volunteered today to start a choir at the after-school program. It also looks like I am brimming with enthusiasm. I’m grinning right now. Thank goodness my housemate M knows how to play the piano…because my skill set consists of the following: 1. The voice of an angel. (Ha.) 2. An artillery of embarrassing dance moves, mostly involving jazz…

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Jan 13 2009

Just another update

A couple of kids got in a fight after tonight’s basketball game and shattered the window of the classroom next to mine. Sweet… On the other hand, Keisha (formerly “Tough Girl”) excitedly introduced me to her mom in person at the game tonight — which is such a big moment that it pretty much makes…

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Jan 13 2009

Not ideal

At one point today my entire fourth period class was in Essay Land. I will explain Essay Land at a later time. Just know, for now, that it is not a good thing.

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Jan 12 2009

I now love the after-school program

I’m learning how to step.

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Jan 10 2009

Dear Mr. President…

I turned 23 yesterday, and today I woke up with a headache — and a crazy, burning desire to get to work. My students and I had such a productive first week back that my sense of urgency has soared. I just want to plan the best lessons I possibly I can for the remaining…

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Jan 07 2009


Things that are not okay in January, even in southern Arkansas: Broken heaters Ceilings that leak Cars that break down (F’s and M’s — both currently stranded in separate locations in the Delta, each about two hours away) Cars that allow rainwater to seep perilously onto the seats, and/or that greet occupants with the scent…

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I wish I could visit the Ms. ____ of October/November’s “black hole” era and just reassure her that everything really would get better.

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Dec 27 2008

Recharging the batteries

And here follows everything I have accomplished over Christmas break thus far: Exhibited slothlike behaviors. From time to time I have slept until 11 a.m. or noon, then dozed off on the couch a mere three hours later. For lack of a better word, it’s gross. (In my defense, I’m pretty sure I haven’t really slept since before Institute. June.) Eaten more food…

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Dec 19 2008

“She reminds me of you”

And…my first semester of teaching is over. Now that classes have drawn to a close, I find it hard to believe the semester flew by so quickly. I hosted viewings of Freedom Writers all day today, and my students seem to have decided that the teacher in the movie is “just like you, Ms. ____!”…

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Dec 16 2008

By jove, you’ve got it

Today after her final exam, one of my students said to me, “I felt like we were taking the state test, Ms. Fitz!” Inner monologue: Yep, I guess that’s pretty much the point…

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Dec 14 2008

A Christmas miracle?

So — I’ve actually gotten myself out of the house and been social these past few weeks!!!!! As it turns out, I really enjoy spending time with the other corps members here. And at this point I don’t mind driving a little while to see them in far-flung parts of the Delta, either. I’m really…

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Dec 09 2008

Quote of the day

From F: “I’m glad neither of us is amazing at this. If you were, I would probably start hating you.”

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Nov 24 2008

My classroom reeks

“Whoo, it stank up in heeuh, Ms. ____! What you been eatin’?” And so the complaints rolled in without reserve: my classroom reeks of onions today. (I am writing during my prep period, and the verb tense remains painfully present.) At first I was a little annoyed by the commentary because I didn’t smell anything…

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Nov 18 2008


Our school is being audited. This means the Arkansas Department of Education is observing our classes and administration each day this week. The range of outcomes remains unclear, but I’ve gathered that the somewhat mysterious threat of “state takeover” looms over us. I’m sure they will write a positive report on what they saw today…

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…and it is “giblet.” Common usage: “Stop being such a ****ing giblet!” (HAPPY (almost) THANKSGIVING!!!) Our Thanksgiving theme continues. I think that by “Thanksgiving theme” I actually mean “Native American theme.” Allow me to explain: We are listening to Johnny Cash’s Ballad of the American Indian in our office this evening. We have also discussed…

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Nov 16 2008


Ok, I have to take a second to write this down because otherwise I’ll feel like it’s not even real. I was so, so productive this evening! I basically mapped out the rest of the semester. This event marks the first time I’ve constructed any sort of daily parceled plans for more than a week…

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Nov 16 2008

I can almost touch it

A quote from the movie Waitress (yes, this is one of my favorite movies — it’s very snarky) keeps popping into my head lately. “I hope someday somebody wants to hold you for 20 minutes straight, and that’s all they do. They don’t pull away; they don’t look at your face; they don’t try to…

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Nov 14 2008

To ponder

A friend from college just sent me a link to an especially intriguing essay: I imagine the author could come up with some insightful comments on the Delta’s own unique brand of ambition…

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