How did I get here?

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First — I am going to try to keep this log focused on my experiences as a fledgling teacher.

So, how did I get here? I practiced law for 20+ years, and it almost killed me. When I quit practicing law, I floundered for a bit, trying to find a way to support myself without going insane. My little soap and toiletries business, Serenesense, wasn’t ready to support me. So I went back to my girl-geek roots, got some Federal aid for unemployed types and took some courses in programming. That helped; a friend got me a job as a web producer for a large business magazine publisher. It paid the bills (almost) and got me out of the house, but it certainly didn’t nourish my soul. More

On the way

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Today I got an email invitation to a reception for Accepted Fellows. We’ve only had one communication from the Board of Education since we received our acceptance letters (in my case, December 10, 2000). About 10 days ago, we received “Enrollment Packages” with forms to fill out and return confirming our interest in the program and giving them an idea of where and what we want to teach. (Placement still remains kind of a black box, though.)

[Warning! Until I get caught up to the present, my posts are likely to be lengthy, which is why I’ve started breaking them up. Even after I get caught up, they’re likely to be lengthy; I talk a lot. :)]

I admit that I’ve been extremely impatient (which is so unlike me. NOT!) I called the Board of Education in early January, asking for more information, particularly for a reading list. What transpired moved me to pick up a copy of Bel Kaufman’s classic, Up The Down Staircase. It’s as much fun to read now as it was in 1965 (I was in 9th grade), and I fear, still much too true. More

An Arrow in my Quiver

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[Originally posted March 14, 2002]

It’s no surprise that one of the major concern of new teachers is maintaining discipline, particularly if you plan to work in a “hard to staff” school. Oddly enough, though, I haven’t been overly concerned about discipline in general. I guess twenty years of dealing with lawyers, judges and sheriffs has left me confident of handling a classroom full of children. Still, I have worried about handling specific children: confrontational, violent, attention-grabbing or passive-aggressive ones. With those kids, the first confrontation can set the tone for the entire relationship. Yesterday, though, I found a very good book on the subject: Succeeding with Difficult Students: New Strategies for Reaching Your Most Challenging Students by Lee and Marlene Canter (Canter & Assoc., 1993). More

Moving On

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[Note: I’ve become an affiliate of When possible, I will provide a link to them for any books I discuss.]

It’s been awhile since I updated this, and in the meantime, I attended a Reception for Accepted Fellows last Wednesday at LaGuardia High School. There were about 60 fellows, and we got some information about placement from two representatives from the Board of Education (it will happen in April or May; most of us will get invited to only one or two placement fairs; we may leave with a job offer, we may not.) More