Dear First-Year Ms. Jonte, Buckle up. Here’s how this is going to go. You’re going to FALL in LOVE with your kids. You’re going to love every ounce of them as soon as you see their names on a class list. They’re going to be hilarious, rambunctious, energetic, and joyful all rolled into one. They’ll cheer you up on your lousiest day. They’ll make you laugh more than you ever have before. They’ll also drive you crazy, but I promise you’ll laugh at it when you pull into the driveway at the end of the day. But not everyday is going to be sunshine and rainbows. You understand the level of hard work that this takes. You’ve been warned about THAT by, well, society. But, there’s also going to be tragedy in mini and major forms. Know that you’ll handle those situations with as much grace and love as you…

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Detroit. Spring 2015. A little over a year ago, I was working 4 jobs. Yep. FOUR. Just take a wild guess what my energy level was like. Whomp. What were they? ONE. TEACHING. If you know my story, then you know I never really choose easy paths. I choose what I feel makes the biggest difference at the time – the greatest impact. So, upon graduation I applied for and was accepted to Teach For America – Detroit. I was placed in a first grade classroom of what I’ve been told was the lowest school in Detroit at the time. Our school was part of the turnaround effort of 2012. Teaching in this kind of environment is still something I struggle to put into words, but I did my best in a recent post. It’s just kind of one of those things — unless you do it, you don’t get it.…

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