Commenting on a recent study showing a disturbing drop in basic reading proficiency among college graduates, Assorted Stuff allows that schools may be partly to blame for failing to teach real-world literacy, but speculates that the larger culture may play a more decisive role: Our society does very little to encourage adult literacy. Our leaders don’t read and are proud of it. The popular media glorifies people who spout unqualified opinion and denigrates anyone who’s actually done the work necessary to become an expert in a particular field.We also make it possible, if not easy, to go ...


Like many educators, Wockerjabby teaches in four different classrooms each day. But for the first time in her career, she's in a classroom that stays empty after her last period teaching. so now, one of the most reliable small pleasures of my teaching day is that empty classroom. I can chat with the kids who want to stay a few minutes extra to ask for help or talk about their birthday parties (this was not the case in my cohort, but apparently when you are a girl your sixteenth birthday is a huge deal. like it might as well be ...


Pigs shares a story about her school's holiday party and a couple of odd teacher gifts. My aunt works in an elementary school also, and each Christmas we exchange the worst teacher gift that we receive as a part of our mean little tradition. Well, last year my aunt won the contest hands down. She bestowed upon me a frock. My frock is black and features faux fur trim about the neck and above the pockets. That's not the scary part. The scary part was what happened when she regifted the frock at the white elephant gift exchange at the ...


While some teachers have taken to embracing the iPods and other handheld gadgets to which they find more and more kids tethered, Mr. Lawrence is no longer one of them. There is a very good reason why, the other day, the principal of a local high school came on over the intercom and barked about the obscene amount of electronic equipment floating around the school. He's not just talking about those ubiquitous iPods, he also means digital cameras, Palm Pilots, camcorders, cell phones and hand-held video game systems. He wants them gone and I want them gone. At first, I ...


Hobo Teacher says he is morally opposed to dropping students’ lowest grades of the term since, after all, he put in a lot of work grading all those assignments. But he does—jokingly—speculate about making a possible deal with students on the pass/fail bubble: Let's say I'll drop the [lowest] grade, if and only if—I get to slap them. Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about anything "violent-violent," but, you know, "Three Stooges violent." You know, I could stick my fist out and tell the student to hit it to where I do that windmill...


Erica Jacobs loves her job. But like most teachers, she's also ambivalent about almost every part of it. I have a similar dialogue with myself nearly every day. This past week it ran: “I hate this job. Will I ever be able to wake up after 5 a.m.? Yeah---in retirement. But Lucy just won first place in a writing contest with an essay that helped make her a stronger person. If I didn’t force students to write, their lives might be different. I love this job.” We’re paid too little money. Yet we get snow days off, ...


Groovygrrl says she had a dream recently that's all too easy to interpret: I dreamed that my colleagues and I were in staff development. The assistant principal kicked me in the stomach, in front of everyone. She then proceeded to get angry with ME when I protested. We’re just glad this was only a dream. Considering some of the things we've seen about staff-development workshops, it seems almost plausible as a real-life example. (groovygrrl's weblog.)...


NYC Educator shares a story about turning in a chronic class-cutter. So, what do you do about a kid who cuts almost three months of school, whose mother can't be bothered discussing it? In my school, apparently, you suspend the kid for a week. (From NYC Educator.)...


Polski3 points out an interesting disparity between classroom grading scales and those used for standardized tests. This scale for the standardized test was about 85-70-55-45-35 percent. This scale that my district told me to use was much different from the A-B-C-D-F scale (90-80-70-60-....) we are told to use as a guide for their academic grades. What If I assigned letter grades to my students using the scale employed for the standardized tests? There would sure be a lot fewer "F's" if a student had to be at 35% or below to earn an F grade. And, except for a few ...


First-year educator BXMSTeacher says he doesn’t mind being the only black literacy teacher at his school. But he does mind when other teachers assume that his race gives him an advantage: Specifically, it bothers me because some of my white colleagues tend to use that as a kind of "fall back" when trying to explain to me how I have such an easy time teaching. ... I have been trying to tell people that I have been struggling and screwing up left and right. It's safe to say we've reached an unconstructive level of racial consciousness when a teacher has ...


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