22 postage stamps: $8.58 Christmas cards with iridescent polar bears on the cover, rather than the ones one sale adorned with cheesy snowmen wearing sweaters: $11.98 Spending 4 hours on a Tuesday night writing Christmas cards to each one of my students instead of designing curriculums, differentiating lessons or writing an insightful, heart-wrenching blog entry: Priceless. This has nothing to do with AYP. I'm certain this will not close the achievement gap. And help reach significant gains? Not likely. Tonight, I'm just writing holiday cards to my students. Because even though they're 14, swaggering with attitude and telling ...


In a perfect world where there is no educational inequity, there would be no need for not-yet-alternatively-certified teachers like me. In a perfect world, every classroom teacher would be certified and effective. In a perfect world, I would have been able to tell the interviewers at my current job what the 14 IDEA disabilities were—rather than shamefully explain that I had no clue, but had every intention of finding out. Unfortunately the world is not perfect and the achievement gap is not yet closed. Our desperation for teachers in this country has yielded alternative certification programs like Teaching Fellows ...


Hey Shyu, thank for pushing us to high school and other stuff "julia" and "julius"...


Sorry folks, I have the flu/cold. So much for staving off sickness after one year in the trenches. I will be writing the next entry in the next day or two on uncertified or alternatively certified teachers. As a Teach for America teacher who is still working toward an alternative license, I am admittedly biased. If you have any insights or opinions on this issue, please leave a comment. I'm interested in hearing views from people on all sides....


He used to hit me. And I used to bite him right back. As children, we fought about who got the bigger piece of candy, and as we grew older, we fought about who was ruining whose life more. This is my little brother. And at 20, he has only recently sort of become tolerable. As I sat across from one of my students with emotional and behavioral disturbances today, I was swept back to the days when I would lecture and moan at my brother to behave and finish his homework so that Mom wouldn't get mad. He never ...


What is Thanksgiving like on the Navajo Nation? Thanksgiving is paper turkeys adorning my classroom door with all that we’re thankful. Thanksgiving is a whole community gathering for a turkey dinner on Wednesday in the cafeteria. Thanksgiving is going around the cafeteria and getting hugs from a dozen moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas and aunties who barely looked twice at me last year. (And reminders from them to not party too hard this weekend in Washington, D.C.) For all who wonder what it’s like to teach and celebrate Thanksgiving with Native Americans, I have no real insights for ...


A month and a half ago, Chinese people around the world celebrated the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, a joyous holiday of telling legends of the Moon Lady, eating moon cakes and gathering with friends and family. Too bad I didn't find out about it until the day after. In an e-mail. In a forwarded cartoon message from my mom. Apparently I am not very good at being Chinese. I attended a high school with a population of about 30% Asian Americans, but had few friends of Asian descent. I subscribe to Asian American women's magazines, but am illiterate in Chinese. I ...


I am not updating the blog today. This week’s Tuesday blog entry is about how I am not updating. I am not updating because I am frustrated, tired and stressed out. I am a full-time-plus (my own special term for overtime-less workers out there who work 60-plus hours per week, but get paid for 2/3 of that time) teacher who attends graduate school at night and on the weekend. I am a grant writer, a behavior committee member, an after-school tutor, a dormitory piano teacher, an Art Club sponsor and a Thursday night karaoke singer. I am tired. ...


11:30 a.m., is fourth period resource math class. We are a month behind in our standards. A quarter of the class is failing. Some need help with multiplication. Others need work on counting nickels. So it only makes sense that last Friday at 11 a.m., I was 1,136 miles away from fourth period resource math class and combing through wool cable sweaters at the Banana Republic in the Rio Grande Valley. I bought one. It's white. It is one of those forgotten lessons that is only briefly mentioned in teacher prep classes, lost among talk about ...


I'm all about language. I believe in embedding language lessons in everything, including math class. I like to stick idioms into my instruction every so often in order to expose my students to the wide world of words. For example, on Friday I was teaching fractions, decimals and percentages. I teach all three in one unit, because they are related. "We're going to kill three birds with one stone," I explain, proud of my ability to toss this idiom into a fractions lesson. I am brilliant. But my rapt audience is not impressed. "You're mean!" they exclaim. "You want to ...


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