Children are not supposed to be perfect all the time. Adults certainly aren't! When I was in seventh grade I had to go to the principal's office. My early teenage brain had gotten the best of me and I was rude to a teacher, which is something that did not please my mom and I heard about it when I got home. The middle school principal was eight feet tall. Ok, maybe not eight feet but he was huge. The mere fact that I had to go see him made me cringe with fear. To be perfectly honest, I thought ...


"Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from." Al Franken Lately, I have been thinking a lot about our present state of affairs; whether we are looking at education, politics or the economy. I wondered what lessons our students are learning from all of these situations that surround us. As I watch the news, scan the comments on Twitter or read Facebook messages, I have sensed a great deal of anger, ...


When looked at correctly, failure can teach us where we went wrong in the first place, and how we can learn to pick ourselves up again in a pursuit to succeed. We seem to have a problem with failure in America. Not in the sense that everyone is failing, but more in the way that failure is seen as the thing that must not happen at any cost. We are surrounded by children who get a trophy just for showing up, while we have others who will never get a trophy even though they work hard every day. Unfortunately, in ...


This time of year can be a bit nerve racking for schools. The fun and excitement of the holidays is behind us, and the spirit that comes with those days tends to begin sneaking away from our psyche. In the public school system, especially after the past few years, this is a time many of us fear because it is when the budget season really kicks into high gear. Any school district that is worth their weight in salt has been talking about the upcoming budget since the last one ended. However, during the summer and fall when school is ...


"Relevance makes rigor possible." Dr. Bill Daggett Recently there was a story in Education Week that focused on turnaround schools (Samuels). This idea of turnaround schools is becoming increasingly more popular in our present era of mandates and high stakes testing. There are numerous consulting firms that offer their services to schools by offering one size fits all silver bullet solutions. Unfortunately, those do not work. One organization that has been working to turn around schools for over twenty years is the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), which was founded by Dr. Willard (Bill) Daggett who is also ...


Children learn many lessons when they are at school, both in the classroom and out. The bus ride and recess are places where children may learn things from their peers that are not age appropriate. They also learn lessons from the adults around them that may not be age appropriate either. One of those lessons is an equality issue and it is based on position. Positional hierarchy happens in suburban, urban and rural schools and refers to how people are treated based on their position within a school. This positional hierarchy can lead to school climate issues and often goes ...


"Because teaching as a profession is so poorly understood there's always the temptation for those not active in the classroom to try to "codify" it and make it seem like some mechanical process which can be "time and motion" studied and optimized." Scott Johnston, Australia In decades past, teachers were allowed to teach what they wanted when they wanted. Administrators did not enter the classroom unless they were there to discipline a student. Usually they stopped at the doorway and with a wave of the finger, the student in trouble left the classroom, as the students left behind whispered and ...


We chase who we want to be without ever taking time to figure out who we are. Educators are bombarded with the "best" "new and improved" ideas in education on a daily basis. Everyone who has a blog (including me) has an idea of how teachers should teach and students should learn. That's not a bad thing but it is when we make educators feel like our ideas are the only ideas that they should use. We hear it all the time with our 24/7 resources. Don't be the "Sage on the Stage" be the "Guide on the Side." ...


As of September 20th, 2011, the federal government ended the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) Policy. Although the repeal was initiated in 2010, it took months for the policy to officially end. Don't Ask, Don't Tell prohibited any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation while serving in the United States armed forces. If those members disclosed their orientation, they would be discharged from the military. Although DADT may have ended in the military it is still an issue that exists in public schools around North America. Students as well as teachers and staff do ...


If you're sitting on the sidelines watching this happen, it's time to join the game. The dean of Harvard University called me yesterday. After I hung up the phone and visited some classrooms I went back to my office and received a message that the dean of Yale called. They wanted transcripts for a few of our students. It's amazing to be on the phone with such prestigious universities. Another day in the life of an elementary school principal. The reality is that none of that is true. Harvard and Yale have not been calling, nor are any other colleges ...


The opinions expressed in Peter DeWitt's 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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