Author Archives: Karey

If I were governor…

by nolateacherlady

I asked my kids to write a story about what it would be like to run for governor, and what they would do if they won. Some of what they wrote was really wonderful.

Candidate M.K. If I were governor, I would stop all the wars. I would make everything free. I would free the countries. I will make a rule that you get paid every time you come to school. I will make B.I. (Behavior Intervention) illegal. I will make a rule that they can’t wear uniforms. I will make a rule that kids can do whatever they want. I will make a rule that recess is longer.

Candidate A.B.

If I were governor, I would let the kids play in schools and play in class. I would let them not have school on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and October. And when the kids get 100% on their test, the teachers have to give them 5000 dollars. And the kids can hit the teachers.

And I can let the teachers have parties when the kids are gone.

Candidate T.C.

Campaign is when I do speeches to people. Then all of the people vote called primary. Then I win as a governor, called a general. I will give homeless people cars, money, homes and good. Campaign, primary, general. No smoking, no drugs, no drinking beer, no cursing.

Candidate M.W.

I will help people with houses and the 3 steps campaign, primary and general. I want to do speeches for my city, and making my whole life so I can trust my heart and see if people vote for me, and become an awesome and cool RENEW student. We have a dream, a dream that can help people who are lost with no mother and father and raised a child, and get him a new home so he is safe and sound, and that means I will help your dream come true, so we can be safe and sound. I just want to help people and pets so they have a home for each other and I mean all of us, so we are family. We trust our heart. The end!

Candidate K.C.

I will give the longest speech. I will stop the meth ring (I’m praying this is a typ0). And give free houses to the homeless (campaign). Then go to the small election (primary). And I will win the big election and become mayor and I become governor, I’ll let everything be free.

Candidate J.G.

I will let the African people move to Louisiana so they can not do all of the work, and they can be free. The African people and I will put an animal in the country so that their family can come together. And I will make an animal center and put a baby lion cub and wolf cubs and train them to be gentle and the kids can pet them. I will give people food so they can vote for me.

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Economics 101, with the third grade

by nolateacherlady


This week, third graders are learning about the basics of economics. Today’s activity had them making a foldable about a product of their choosing. They had to identify the producer and consumer of their product. Some of my favorites:

Chris*: PRODUCT: Wigs    PRODUCER: Wigmaker          CONSUMER: Hannah Montana

(Note: Can you tell this kid is a good shit-talker? He knows his pop culture references. Overheard during an argument yesterday…. “Oh shut up Harry Potter….” Also, “I’m gonna pop you in the microwave and cook you like a TV dinner.”)

Katie*: PRODUCT: Fake nails            PRODUCER: Nail salon        CONSUMER: Ms. Q

(Note: GOT ME!!)

Donald*: PRODUCT: Hot chips that I’m going to buy after school with my $170 . PRODUCER: The store       CONSUMER: ME!

(Note: $170 should probably be $1.70, but who knows?)

Reggie*: PRODUCT: Art piece                 PRODUCER: Artist                CONSUMER: Me!

(Note: Building his fine art collection at age 8!)

Calvin*: PRODUCT: Lil’ Wayne CD          PRODUCER: Lil’ Wayne         CONSUMER: Me!

(Note: An awesome picture accompanied this one.)

* Names have been changed to protect the innocent, the adorable and the hilarious


Week ten, day four. Learning about being a good citizen.

“Repeat after me, class. Perseverance.”


Perseverance is when you never give up, even when it’s hard.”

Perseverance is when you never give up, even when it’s hard.

“Who do you know in your life that shows perseverance?”

D: I know! Ms Q, you!

“Why me, D?”

Because we’re bad, and you have to holler at us, and you’re still here!

“Thank you, D. I disagree with one thing you said. You aren’t bad. I do have to holler at you sometimes, but you aren’t bad.”


A “Get out of my face!”

L “Don’t say that! Be a good citizen!”


They’re learning, and I’m learning.  I’m pooped, but I’m so proud of the people they’re becoming. I could cry.

(For any number of reasons…)

oh hi, i do exist.

by nolateacherlady

Tomorrow I will be bringing in my guitar to serenade my children and teach them that sound is vibration.They will be making sound waves with their hands to show whether the note is high pitch or low pitch. We will make our own instruments out of rubber bands and it should all be jolly good, educational fun.

Had you asked me on Friday what I was planning to do on Monday, my answer would probably have been quitting my job in hopes that I could find employment as a bagger at Breaux Mart , or as my mom jokingly suggested, consider a post at Hooters. I weighed the costs and benefits in my mind, and told her that it seemed like a good idea.

This job is the most difficult thing I have done in my life, because it never stops. To be good at it, you have to constantly be ‘increasing your effectiveness’ –  in TFA speak. Basically, that means you could literally never stop working and there would still be more you could (and should) be doing to invest and educate your students. I have trouble seeing where to stop and what to prioritize – like my health or my sleep or my sanity. When you don’t prioritize these things, you suffer for it. When you do prioritize these things, you fall behind in your work and feel nagging guilt and building stress. This, for instance, is the first time I’ve stopped to write and reflect since I began working two months ago.

And there are moments (when a student will threaten to beat me in the head with a pencil sharpener, or rip the socket out of the wall during a Powerpoint presentation, or call another student “Africa”) when I completely lose myself in it and just want to throw my hands up in the air, scream something obscene, flip a table Jersey housewives style and run from my classroom to any undisclosed location.

Okay, so you might correctly point out that I signed myself up for this. But no one can imagine what it’s actually like to be a teacher when they’re signing their name on the line to join TFA or TeachNola or CityYear or any first year teaching position.   And not a single person I’ve spoken to had anything very positive to say about their first few months of teaching, so my experience is nothing unusual, it seems. It can only get better, and the stakes are high. If I slack off one day, my students don’t get that day back. And they are so behind that I can’t let that happen. So the race is always going, and I can never justify stopping to breathe.

I will get better at this. Tomorrow, the goal is just to teach the kids and go to the gym. If i can write today for the first time in months, then maybe I can pull it off.

Wish me luck….


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The Satchmo Summerfest is “the premier American Jazz Festival dedicated to the life, music and legacy of New Orleans’ native son, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong.”

A little history of Mr. Armstrong and the festial (from, after the jump: Continue reading


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White linen fest in New Orleans on the first Saturday in August. The galleries on Julia Street open their doors to crowds of people dressed in white linen, drinking wine and celebrating in the sweaty August heat.

Next Saturday is, appropriately, Dirty Linen night on Royal Street. Good thing too, because my white dress is spotted with red wine and concealer. Oops.

Playtime at Lake Pontchartrain

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I drove up to Lake Pontchartrain with a friend yesterday.

The sun was setting and the light reflected off the lake beautifully. I spoke with the little boy in the photos who told me he comes to fish by the lake every day. I liked seeing three generations of men fishing together, in a line from the little boy, to his father, to the older man. It reminded me of how time passes and how people change. The older man knew a lot about the lake and the fish within it, and pointed out a school of silver fish to the man and his son. The school of fish created a moving choppy patch of water in the otherwise smooth lake that seemed to stretch into the sky. I was excited to finally see the lake for myself after hearing so many songs about it and imagining how it would look and sound.

It is still strange to call New Orleans home, because things are so different that it doesn’t seem possible to me yet. But this is home – a wild, wonderful, sensual home with a whole lot of problems and lot of good people trying to make things right. And what a home to have… the festivals, the hot sauce and the brass bands, the oak trees, the beads and the tarot readers, the street poets, the potholes and the sweat always dripping down your back.