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October 26, 2011

A Tale of Two Teacher Evaluations

As one of my opening lessons on science lab safety, I use a scenario of students who create utter mayhem in the lab with glimpses of them also being safe. This anticipatory set is fun to read and students quickly identify things they should never do. By the end of the lesson they have internalized a...

October 12, 2011

Columbus Day and African American Education

On Monday, we closed our schools in honor of Christopher Columbus Day. I love always having a long weekend to celebrate my Oct. 9 birthday. But it annoys me that we celebrate a man whose exploratory ambitions led to the demise of millions of indigenous people in the Caribbean and opened the Atlant...

October 05, 2011

Charter School Teacher Dines With Union President

Last night I met Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis at a Teach Plus roundtable discussion and sat right next to her at dinner. Lewis is a fascinating figure, a former high school chemistry teacher whose humorously blunt personality helped catapult her to the union's top spot in 2010. She...

September 28, 2011

Here's Why I Teach, Brian Williams

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 schoo...

September 14, 2011

What's Our Vision for the Teaching Profession?

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, ...

August 02, 2011

Haunting Words to Inspire Every Teacher

Back in the days when I had no idea of what was actually required to be a good teacher, back when I was in grad school studying education theory and making foolish assumptions about how to manage students, I walked in on a conversation in a teacher's lounge that would change my life. I had recently...

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