Leaf Elhai

Leaf Elhai is a BTR Cohort 11 Secondary English Graduate. Leaf grew up in Richmond, VA and graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, where she studied English literature and educational studies. While at Carleton, Leaf worked with students as an America Reads and Counts tutor and as a mentor for minority and low-income high school students in a Northfield college access program. Leaf taught writing and math to middle school students for two summers as a Breakthrough Collaborative intern teacher and spent another summer teaching English in rural Ecuador. When she’s not pursuing the joyful challenge of good teaching and educational equity, Leaf enjoys visual arts, theater, the outdoors, and conversations about big questions.

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Inspiration to teach:

The teachers and students who have challenged me to wonder and grow both in and out of the classroom. Also my dentist, who looked at me incredulously when I told him I wanted to teach in public schools. “Really? Teaching?”  Yes, really.

About BTR:

A community of strong, thoughtful people who care about students and about each other.

Favorite Thing in the World To Do:

1) Be with friends and family 2) while eating delicious food 3a) outside 3b) or maybe in a beautiful library.

Random thought:

The Oxford English Dictionary is (partially) crowdsourced. In the section asking for public input, the OED website says,“When it comes to the words we read, write, speak, and hear each day, every one of us is an expert.” Language lives!

Recently by Leaf

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1.24.14 - A Day in the Life

Over the last few months, I’ve had some great conversations with prospective BTR applicants who want to know about my experience with the program. These conversations usually start with big-picture questions: “What brought you to BTR?” “What’s the most challenging thing about teaching?” These… [more]
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11.06.13 - The Important and the Urgent

I don’t usually look to BuzzFeed-style online “top 20” lists for life-affirming wisdom.  A couple of weeks ago, though, I stumbled upon a “top 20” article that stuck with me: “20 Things Every Twentysomething… [more]
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9.22.13 - Teaching, Step 0: Learning Our Students

A few weeks ago (a few lifetimes ago) on the first day of school, my collaborating teacher (CT), my co-resident, and I met our students for the first time. We knew nothing about them that first day—contrary to what your third grade teacher may… [more]
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8.26.13 - Teaching Toward the World We Want

We just finished up our summer courses this past Friday, and as I look ahead to the start of school with a messy tangle of nerves and excitement, I keep chewing on one idea that seemed to come up again and again over the… [more]
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more from Leaf Elhai on the blog


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