September 2011 Archives

It was a provocative question: Is the role of a teacher to educate students for college or for the wider world? That was the first question that NBC newsman Brian Williams asked on Sunday at the second annual Education Nation Teacher Town Hall. Now I know that college has become the new high school; that an undergraduate degree has become the basic level of education required to get an upwardly mobile job. Teaching students with college in mind is the noble thing to do. What teacher wouldn't want every student prepared for college, whether he decides to go or not? ...


There, I said it: I'm 5'7'' and 198 pounds. That makes me a good 30 pounds overweight. My supportive husband calls me "voluptuous," but my middle school Advisory students say I'm "chunky." My mother calls me "healthy" and "big boned," but my girlfriends tell me I've got a lot of "junk in my trunk." Call it whatever you like, but with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol in my family tree I know I need to increase my level of fitness, which also entails losing weight. So in the spirit of accountability and transparency, I am sharing this information ...


There's a proverb that says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." I thought about this as a high-ranking official from the U.S. Department of Education came to speak with me and the Chicago Teach Plus Fellows on September 9. He was a part of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's bus tour, which included ED officials leading focus groups with teachers across five Great Lakes states. He brought a draft document called "Envisioning a Teaching Profession for the 21st Century," and asked thought-provoking questions to test the limits of some big ideas. What followed was simply fascinating. But ...


We were making our final descent toward LaGuardia airport in New York when my husband nudged me from his window seat. "Look at the Twin Towers," he said in awe. "They look so eerie from up here." I had taken the trip from Chicago to New York dozens of times and the aerial view of the vertical landscape had lost its luster. I awkwardly peered over at the mighty chrome and glass pillars, glistening in the still rising sun, trying to see what he saw. The World Trade Center was my absolute favorite place to take family and friends when ...


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