Science teacher Ms. Frizzle is going to Turkey next school year as part of a teaching exchange, and has started taking Turkish language classes in preparation. So what's the view like from the other side of the teacher's desk? Well, her Turkish instructor had this response to a student who remarked that the day's lesson was pretty easy: That's because I am giving you the easy ones today. I dispense my poison one drop at a time, slowly. The needle has barely brushed your skin. It will seem easy. Ms. Frizzle says she's going to use that line on her ...


Sometimes, everything just comes together perfectly. That's what Jessica Shyu, the special education teacher of East Meets West, found when she took her students on a recent field trip—to a Denny's restaurant. Ok, it's not the Louvre, but for her students, the trip was a huge self-esteem boost—and a welcome chance to use the real-world skills they'd been practicing all year: ...the real progress that I see among my students is in their confidence. [One student] can find the type of burger that he wants in the menu. My other seventh grader knows how to lay her napkin...


Dmcdowell of A History Teacher confirms that test-anxiety isn’t just for students. He describes his emotions as his AP World History students, after covering 10,000 years in 34 weeks, take the year-end exam. In some ways, I feel like an old-time expectant father, pacing in the hallway. I have done all I can, I sat with those who showed up for their morning classes, joked around with them, trying to lighten the mood. I answered last minute frantic questions all the way up to the time they entered the rooms to take the exam. Most worked hard for ...


Who's under the most pressure during these days of high-stakes testing—the students, or the teachers? Sure, the kids are the ones who are actually obligated to produce answers under pressure, but TeacherTalk blogger Erica Jacobs writes that testing time is no picnic for the educators, either: It’s four days until the test. Four days. Each May I suffer from test anxiety. One hundred six of my charges will be sitting for the Advanced Placement Literature exam this Thursday. Ironically, students seem relaxed; I am the basket case... The words every teacher dreads are: “The test was easy.” That...


Mei Flower puzzles over the reported crisis (recently featured on "Oprah") of teachers sleeping with students: As a female teacher myself, I have to say that I do not understand how a person in her mid-20s to 30s could be attracted to a thirteen-year-old boy, let alone sleep with him. And that is not to mention the fact that I would always be in Teacher Mode, where I would be saying things like, "Don't be a bully," or "Tuck in your shirt," or "Don't say 'ain't'." That is not exactly whispering sweet nothings. … Then she adds the real relationship-killer: I ...


Mr. Lawrence, the blogger at Get Lost, Mr. Chips, has figured out why students so often hate reading "classic" literature in English classes. It's not the material itself, he says. It's the presentation: What doesn't help their appreciation/comprehension of these works is arguably in the piecemeal presentation, which breaks down chapters and has students analyzing sentence after sentence instead of 'enjoying' the book for what it is. Many cheat—and I know I did—by reading the CliffsNotes / SparkNotes for the books (I used the one for Lord of the Flies). 'Pleasure' is negated by turning the books into...


Chris of School of Blog writes of taking his 8th graders on a field trip to Columbia University “to get them thinking about the importance of college.” The students, mostly black and Latino kids from Queens, focused on the imposing architecture of the campus and on how different the Columbia undergrads looked from them. He could tell they didn’t feel comfortable: [I]t was pretty obvious that they felt like there was no way that they could ever get to a place like Columbia. It's sad that kids who are just starting to make their way in life (they'll ...


Paper or plastic? At First-Year Teacher's school, paper is the wrong answer: Apparently the teachers at my school use too much paper. So my principal yelled at everyone at the last staff meeting for, like, ten minutes. Now, I've just been told, we are not getting anymore paper for the rest of the year. In the words of my students, "Fa reals?" ...Now I have to buy paper, too? Fa reals? Because, call me crazy, but I think that paper is a necessary expense in a school. I think I need to have paper in order to do my job. ...


Jessica Shyu, the Teach For America participant who's teaching and blogging on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, finds that sometimes the hardest part of the job is coming to terms with the fact that she's actually the one in charge: Because after more than 9 months of this "being in charge" business, I still feel like a kid. Sometimes as I run a meeting, I pause mentally and realize that I'M running a meeting; that these adults are listening to what I say and doing as I tell them. We must all be crazy...I'm quickly seeing how, like ...


Coach Brown files this thoughtful report on the funeral of a former student. It was Brown's first time attending a student's funeral, and he doesn't pull any punches. There's nothing romantic about a student's death: At almost every funeral I've attended there is some sense of laughter or fond memories. This funeral was straight sadness. ... Watching people you know, students and ex-students, grieving so hard was brutal. I watched happy-go-lucky people that I taught in so much pain that it was really hard being in attendance. ...By the end of the whole ordeal, my teaching partner and I left with ...


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