As I walk around the school building getting to know my students, I love to hear their stories about what they did after school or hear their plans for the upcoming weekend. From first glance, they are much like we were when we were young. They want to hang with their friends and have fun with their families. In other ways, students have changed a great deal simply because of what they can access on a daily basis. For a long time I used to resist the urge to say that kids have changed since I was young because I ...


Over the past few decades we have seen politicians who make us proud and others who make us want to hide our heads in shame. The more we watch the news the more it seems as though our politicians are disconnected from the people who voted them into office. As many people suffer during these tough economic times, many politicians argue about who is right and point fingers at who they believe is wrong. All of this behavior has an effect on our daily morale because we are exposed to the fighting through our 24/7 media outlets. Even on ...


"We are raising a stressed out generation of students who are over-tested and overanalyzed." The other day I took some time to craft an e-mail in a Word document. I needed to take the time to make sure that I chose my words correctly. Sending the whole staff a message is something that I take seriously because once your words are out there, they can be interpreted in numerous ways. The reason for the e-mail was to communicate something that I feel strongly about. It had to do with the overuse of testing in the U.S. and the need ...


"Children are born creative. I think that the emphasis on tests and judging creative expression damages that inherent creativity very early on." Laurie Halse Anderson Educators are the Jack of All Trades when it comes to teaching. Most educators can teach any subject area given the proper amount of time and effort. However, one of the hardest areas to teach is the one we are all responsible for and that is writing. It's kind of sad because being able to write is a massively powerful tool. Whether you're writing a sentimental card to a loved one or a wildly creative ...


We have a population of students who can't wait to get to school every day. They wish our days were longer, watch the clock tick every minute, and do not want to go home. It's not that they love reading, math, science or social studies so much that they want to stay in our schools long into the night. They don't want to go home because they are being abused. Child abuse can be both physical and emotional and those children being abused sit in our schools and fear going home. It doesn't matter whether we teach in an urban, ...


"While in my childhood the values of social justice and equity were instilled, I received no messages suggesting gays and lesbians were deserving of just and equitable treatment" (Roper, 2005, p. 82). On Thursday, a documentary created by a young woman named Morgan Wilcock won Best Documentary in the Project VoiceScape competition. Ms. Wilcock took an opportunity to create a documentary for (and about) LGBT youth because she wanted to speak up about the homophobia she sees in society. The documentary, which is linked below is entitled This Gay and Age. If educators want to know how a segment of ...


"I believe that one of the reasons my framework has become so widely accepted is that it gives voice to what all educators know, that teaching is very complex work, it's a thinking person's job and you cannot follow a cookbook." Charlotte Danielson What makes good teaching? Critics and reformers believe it is something that can be quantified, replicated and packaged. They also believe that given the right textbooks or high stakes exam, educators can be made to teach in the same way which will bring equality to the classroom, and therefore all students will succeed. After all, can't we ...


"Communication doesn't have to mean reinventing the wheel." Typically, most administrators spent time as a classroom teacher. Some of them may have taught for two or three years, while others may have taught for a decade or more. For a variety of reasons they decided to leave the classroom in order to lead a building, and many had the much larger dream to move to the central office so they could help lead a district. As the years pass by and administrators get further away from their career as a classroom teacher, they run the risk of forgetting what it ...


"The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters every day." Todd Whitaker Educators have read a great deal of philosophical literature in their careers. They are inundated with it at the college level, and many educational books on the market focus on it as well. As much as philosophy is important, educators really need practical information that they can use at the classroom or building level. When I became a principal, I went from teaching elementary school in a small city school to being a building ...


"Don't be so busy looking for problems that you forget to notice improvements." Todd Whitaker. Turn on the television for a moment. Listen carefully to the conversations and interactions of the adults that are on the program you are watching. If you passively listen as you finish chores around the house you may not be aware of the disturbing amount of negativity that we are exposed to. Actively listen to some news programs and reality television, and you should find yourself concerned about the amount of fighting and blaming that is constantly being thrown at viewers. The Love Boat used ...


The opinions expressed in Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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