Immigration demonstrations across the country may have been making headlines the past two days, but the issue takes on a greater meaning when you're faced with it every day, as TMAO, the blogger at Teaching In The 408, explains: More than 80% of my students (and our school) are Latino, and even higher percentage is composed of immigrants or the children of immigrants...Ask the kids, and they’ll tell you a variety of things that you, from your lofty perch, will dismiss as ill-informed: Schwarzenegger hates Mexicans, nobody wants Mexicans in this country, they’re trying to send everyone ...


The folks at The Education Wonks today highlight a newspaper article straight from the sad-but-true file. The Tampa Tribune reported over the weekend that an increasing number of male teachers are facing scrutiny because they've chosen to teach kindergarten or other early grades: "It's very sad. Male students have come to me after they've been challenged by their own families and friends," [Pam] Fleege [an associate professor of early childhood education] said. "Some are accused of being pedophiles. But they mostly get a lot of, 'What are you going to say when a parent confronts you?" Confrontations with suspicious parents ...


Miguel, over at Mousing Around, writes that, in at least one school district he knows of, administrators have blocked sites that even reference the much-vilified myspace.com. Miguel notes that the rule is "...pretty straightforward and broad: Web pages containing the UNMENTIONABLE will be banned." Not an unusual response to a perceived threat, right? Except that education bloggers who mention myspace as part of a legitimate discussion are now off-limits in this unidentified district. (Like Blogboard, for instance.) Even worse: If one does a search on "space" in Google [from within this unnamed district] ...the search results are blocked. So ...


Mei Flower, a 30-year-old high school English teacher, at Randomville High, reflects on a recent conference with the parent of a child who is failing: YES I AM 532% AT FAULT FOR YOUR CHILD'S GRADE. IT IS ALL MY OWN RESPONSIBILITY AND IF I WERE A GOOD TEACHER, WHEN I SAW THAT HE WAS GOING TO FAIL, I WOULD HAVE PICKED UP HIS PENCIL AND DONE THAT WORK MYSELF. File under: What I Should Have Said. But teaching at RH does have its bright spots. In a separate entry, Ms. Flower does the happy dance when her ninth-graders finally get ...


FYI: Hitting on a topic near and dear to our hearts (obviously), The Washington Post published an article today on the growth of teacher blogs. Here’s the essence: On one level, blogs are little more than personal journals posted on the Internet for all to see. They provide a forum for teachers to share ideas with colleagues around the world or simply talk about themselves and others. But under a wider lens, the sometimes funny, sometimes searing blogs paint what may be the rawest portrait seen of the teaching profession in transition—and by some measures, in trouble. Hmm....


Multi-talented science teacher Ms. Frizzle provides a nicely written account of a recent screening of Granito De Arena, a documentary about the political mobilization of teachers in Mexico, at the United Federation of Teachers’ headquarters in New York. During the discussion period after the film, there were fervid calls for greater activism on the part of U.S. teachers. But for Ms. Frizzle, something was missing from the conversation: a “meaningful vision of an alternative” to current school practices. She asks: What would the [New York City] school system look like in our ideal world? If we did away with ...


After a lesson she had spent eight hours preparing for was killed because of scheduling changes, English teacher Waterfall goes metaphorical: Imagine a schedule is a rug. A small rug on a slippery hardwood floor. It can be moved around, and it slips every now and then, but you like to think that it's going to stay put when you're standing on it. Now, imagine this: Every time you set foot on the rug, someone comes up behind you and whisks the rug out from under you. You go flying and crashing as if you've stepped on a banana peel. ...


With just three days to go before she goes on maternity leave, Posthipchick offers some instructive observations on the awkwardness, both physical and social, of teaching while pregnant: It's very strange to have something so personal happening to you while constantly being watched and monitored by 100 people a day. Especially when the personal/professional line becomes blurred, as it is wont to do when your students see you running out of the room to puke, or go to the bathroom, or when your belly is slithering around as you are trying to teach. None of it feels inappropriate, ... but ...


Can blogs and other community-building Web tools become agents of radical educational change, uprooting decades-old paradigms of teaching and learning that have outlived their effectiveness? That’s the question underlying the discussion—or "distributed conversation"—taking place on a number of tech-oriented teacher blogs. Literacy teacher-cum-Web enthusiast Doug of Borderland, for one, acknowledges he is doubtful that interactive technology can make immediate inroads into most classrooms. What with accountability and testing requirements, he says, most teachers are too “overloaded with a barrage of demands that limit their openness to new self-selected challenges.” Plus, he notes, not everyone’s on board ...


New york-based teacher writingsam is forced to ponder the changing mores of students when, during a small-group writing workshop, one of her 4th graders nonchalantly asks her, “Are you a virgin?” And the craziest part about it, was that the three students [in the workshop] didn't even respond, didn't even look up from their work, just continued on with correcting the paragraphs I had edited. It was almost as if asking your teacher if she's a virgin is equivalent to asking your teacher if she has a pencil. As one of my coworkers always says, I wish my kids still ...


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