Mister Teacher's re-posts his back-to-school "Welcome Letter to Parents"—which has apparently become something of a Web classic. A sample: Homework is to be done tonight it is assigned—BY THE CHILDREN! We know that you mean well, but you're really not helping if you don't know your long division from your lines of symmetry. (You know who you are) P.S. to new teachers: Don't really use this letter....


Nancy Flanagan has started a teacher-bloggers' chain letter on "Five Things I Wish Policy-Makers Knew About My Classroom." Among the items on her own list: There is no such thing as a foolproof curriculum that works reliably for all kids, or even most kids.Blondieb_school__morguefile Policymakers may wish those magic programs existed, so schools could buy guaranteed progress—but surefire lessons are an illusion. If you have a blog, why not pick up the meme?...


Dr Pezz strongly feels that schools shouldn’t be policing students’ internet use outside of school, but if students can use the internet in school then they should be taught how to do so responsibly....


Bill Ferriter reports on his involvment in a very interesting-sounding initiative called The Teacher Salary Project, a sort of evolving online documentary intended to bring attention to the teacher pay issue. It's being produced by, among others, novelist Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, who—you might remember—co-authored the much-talked-about book Teachers Have It Easy a few years ago. (The title, of course, is ironic.) For his part, Ferriter thinks we've reached a "tipping point" on teacher salaries at which "changes to the ways that we reward teachers are truly possible." And if he has his druthers, those changes...


J. at Mildly Melancholy, who was utterly frustrated with her school last year, writes excitedly making the switch to a charter school. Sounds good: What I do know and love is that the school has adequate facilities, and it has excellent resources. The teachers' room has a free copy machine (at my previous school, teachers had to buy a copy code [cheaply, but still] AND provide paper) and shelves of books, just sitting there (not stashed away in a secret room in a secret stairwell, covered in asbestos dust). Plenty of money for classroom books and supplies. Plenty of schoolwide ...


In an emotional post, Nucleus Learning says this past year, for the first time ever, she gave up on a student: I'm not proud at all. I should have dealt with this situation differently. I don't really know how, but I know that giving up on him was not right, not as a teacher. I am obliged to have faith in all of my students, some more, some less, but faith nonetheless. I have no right to give up. No right at all! At that moment I failed as a teacher! After reading this entry, one of Nucleus’ students emailed ...


Rowlsintheclass is trying to find her own secret—the underlying lesson that’s not explicitly a part of the curriculum: Often the secret curriculum is what the student will remember from the class for years to come…some teachers secret curriculum is to teach students to sit still, or some teachers teach responsibility, others focus on hard work. What’s yours?...


Musings From a Not-So Master Teacher feels like he’s being transformed into a prototype with his school district’s new daily lesson plan requirement: …it is in the subtle acts like a Lesson Plan Template that teachers lose their professional autonomy and academic freedom. The district now tells me what to teach, how to assess it, what my room should look like, when I should teach what information and with what strategies. From the planning to the delivery to the assessment, Big Brother is there for me, looking over my shoulder and encouraging uniformity....


Despite her reluctance to deal with "that beginning of school thing," Bellringers has reasons to look forward to the coming school year—five reasons to be specific. And though the monthly paycheck comes in a close second, Bellringers is most excited about a new beginning: The new school year offers the chance to start over. The perfect clean slate. The perfect opportunity to adjust, correct, redirect, regenerate, rejuvenate. The perfect place to try (yet again) to open the door of possibilities.” Perhaps the prospect of starting over will make it a bit easier for Bellringers to face the fall....


Although professional actors, athletes and teachers commonly belong to unions, it always seems like actors and athletes are getting a better deal. What It’s Like on the Inside contemplates what it would be like to negotiate teacher salaries in the same fashion as the film and sports industries. If you're a superstar teacher who gets results in student learning and achievement (however defined by the organization), why not have the ability to contract for a commensurate salary? Why should you be stuck at the same wage as a teacher who does little more than surf the net while kids ...


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