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April 16, 2014

Being Ms. Rhames: Reflections From a Substitute Teacher

During my maternity leave from mid-November to early March, Virginia Cutshall served as my substitute teacher. I asked her write an honest depiction of her experience in a guest blog post.

January 13, 2014

'Breaking Bad': A Cautionary Tale for Teachers in the Wake of Walter White

Guest blogger John Choi was addicted to the hit TV show Breaking Bad. Now that the show has ended, Choi manages his withdrawals by analyzing both the inspirational and more ominous lessons the main character Walter White—meek high school science teacher turned ruthless drug dealer—teaches us.

December 04, 2013

Forever Educated by 'Nurse Rita' in a Hospital Nursery

I gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Nov. 20, 2013, and a day later I watched a sick baby girl turn blue. 'Nurse Rita' did all she could to save the child's life, and in the process she forever educated me and the dozen parents who were in that hospital nursery. The incident taught me what it looks like to put your whole heart into your profession.

November 13, 2013

Even the Best Teacher Could Be Considered a Negligent Parent

Educators need to think twice about the way we classify parents unto the "good" and "bad" categories. Every parent should be seen as a work in progress, just as we are, as well as our students. Schools have to put systems in place to provide quality supports to all the various constituents of the school community.

October 23, 2013

Why All American Teachers Should Care About Chicago

This week marked the 50th anniversary of "Freedom Day," the vaguely remembered 1963 Chicago Public Schools boycott in which 250,000 black students stayed out of school to demand an equal, desegregated education. Today, Chicago and most major cities are still providing an unequal and very segregated public education to minority students. We will not solve this problem until educators and civic leaders begin an honest, solutions-oriented conversation about the root cause of the problem: institutionalized racism.

October 09, 2013

Dad's Happy Birthday Message Inspires Teacher to Live Passionately

It's my birthday today, and I am grateful to be alive and to be carrying a life.  At this time last year, my dad left a message on my cell phone in which he sang "Happy Birthday" and recited a little silly poem in my honor. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I didn't call him back right away becaus...

September 25, 2013

Who Wore the Pants at the 2nd Annual Bammy Awards?

Last Saturday, I won the "2013 Education Blogger/Commentator of the Year" title at the Bammy Awards in Washington, D.C.  The Bammys sent a limousine to take me and all the honorees from the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel to the Arena Stage Theater, where the ceremony took place. There was the red carpet, the...

October 10, 2012

Things Middle Schoolers Have Taught Me About Sex

If you hang around middle schoolers long enough, you can learn a lot—even a few things about sex. When I was their age, no one talked to me about sex. When I got my menstrual period, all my mother told me was that if I started fooling around with boys I could get pregnant. I figured out what ...

September 26, 2012

I Am Not a Cannibal, But I Teach "Yo Mama" Jokes on Occasion

Every now and then, I have students who are uncomfortable around me, like they are scared. During a teacher-student conference I have to ask them to pull their chair up to my desk a little closer. "I don't bite," I tell them. "I'm not a cannibal, though I've been accused of being one." Wait, wai...

August 22, 2012

Thank You, Ms. White, For Writing Me Off

Most lovers of children's literature know the tear-jerking, classic teacher-student memoir by Patricia Polacco entitled Thank You, Mr. Falker. It's tells of Polacco's battle with low self-esteem because at age nine she still could not read, and the persistent teacher who diagnosed her dyslexia. Th...

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