Dree, a 1st grade teacher at an inner city Catholic school, seems to be in an awkward spot with the new teacher she's mentoring. "As her mentor, it's my job to make sure she's doing okay," she writes. "But it's not my job to babysit her or her kids. Any advice? I could use it!" A few people have weighed in with suggestions, or at least some sympathy. (From Chalkdust)....


Just in time for Halloween and the annual showing of the Peanuts animated classic, Mrs. Cornelius compares teachers to the eternally optimistic Linus: My Great Pumpkin is the day when we are given the tools to do our jobs, when students are told that education is the priority by our society and by their families, when politicians behave as though education, culture, and civic virtue are the most important priorities that society can bestow upon its citizens. I don't need all kids to speak English, I don't need all kids to be angels or geniuses-- I'll take all comers if ...


Substitute teacher Mr. Lawrence offers up yet another theory for why there are so few male elementary school teachers: But most aggravating of all in elementary schools is how many times I've had to repeat the assignments to them. I've even written them on the board and taken to pointing. I make sure all the details are up there, like what page, what questions to answer, whether or not they need to use complete sentences, whether or not they need to re-write the questions. Still, they'll look at me in complete puzzlement and ask, "What do we need to do?" ...


After a frustrating, water-logged day in her classroom, middle school science teacher Ms. Frizzle makes a valid point about a perennial frustration at all too many schools. So, we have two broken radiators, one fixed radiator plus fumes, broken outlets in several classrooms, and disappearing copies. And might I add that no matter what they do, in four years of teaching at this school, I have NEVER ONCE taught in a classroom that was a comfortable temperature during winter months?! Never. I have thermometers posted on the walls - for science - and I have seen classrooms hit 98 degrees ...


Over at eduwonk, guest blogger GGW suggests a different take on merit pay: I wonder if these high-performing teachers would instead be comfortable with (and motivated by) receiving merit bonuses in the form of discretionary accounts of, say, $5,000 for the year to spend on the general welfare of kids in the school? A merit slush fund, if you will. A teacher could buy extra books without red tape, small rewards for the kiddies with the highest improvement on vocab quizzes, a brand new collared shirt for the student who seems to have only one. Ten meritorious teachers could ...


First Year Teacher (actually a second-year teacher, as we've pointed out before) has remembered why showing movies isn't always a good idea. When will I learn that showing a movie is not a relaxing thing? I have this idea periodically that I can take a rest and catch up by showing a movie to my classes. Then I turn it on, after the ten minute warning about how I have another, less enjoyable, activity for them to do if they cannot listen (which is a lie, I have nothing), and they squirm quietly for two minutes, whisper for one, and ...


Newoldschoolteacher takes an uncharacteristically admiring look at Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the efforts of his charitable foundation. While Gates is a proponent of the small-schools initiative, what this teacher-turned-grad-student finds more compelling is his never-say-never approach to eradicating malaria in Africa. There are so many parallels here with education. Just as they know nets and insecticide work for malaria (they helped to eradicate it among officials in the British Raj in India), we know that discipline, hard work, and attention to academic rigor work for urban education. What's missing is merely the will to do it, someone to come ...


Here's a discussion that only an educator could love. Of special note are the user-submitted commments, assuming you can make sense of such cryptic statements as "I wish Staedtler expanded their Ergosoft line so [it] encompass all grades from 6H to 8B." And if you can make sense of this, I'd keep it to yourself. (From Pencil Revolution.)...


Mildly Melancholy notes that, among other recent frustrations in her busy teacher’s life, a poetry unit she’d been teaching has been washed out by the inevitable test-prep demands. Our poetry unit is now not really there; we have to do all test prep, every day. We can use poems to show students how to answer test questions about them, but not a study of poetry. And we have to practice writing responses, for the test. Stupid, stupid test. So poems must be used, not enjoyed or contemplated. Surely this says something—and not a particularly good something—about...


In the blog he is keeping for Teacher Magazine, exiled New Orleans educator Jim Randels reflects on a recent retreat held in South Carolina for students and teachers who’ve participated in Students at the Center, a high school writing program Randels co-directed in the Crescent City. Among the chief emotions expressed at the gathering, Randels says, was anger at New Orleans’ plan to convert many of its public schools into charter schools. In an written reflection excerpted by Randels, one student who spent several days in the Superdome after the Hurricane Katrina hit suggests that her own interests in ...


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