July 2013 Archives

"Long Term Planning has been known to addicting and extremely impactful. Prolonged exposure to long-term planning is known to increase heart rate, increase risk of motivation, increase investment on day-to-day lesson plans, lead to extreme shifts in happiness and inexplicable jumps in academic success, and in many cases may cause suddens bolts of irritable excitement." This is how I feel about backwards planning. I still remember the magical moment more than seven years ago in my first year teaching when I really learned and finally appreciated the beauty of Understanding by Design and long term planning in general. Since then, ...


I met Cherry at a low point. In Teach For China, we were facing placement challenges, our classroom impact measures were unclear, morale was at an all-time low among Fellows and Staff, and news reports were coming out about the 70 percent unemployment rates among recent college graduates in China. After eight years, I was starting to doubt myself, my work and our mission. And then I met Cherry. After 10 minutes of hearing her story, I not only remembered what it means to have a transformed life path, but I saw what our elementary and middle school students right ...


As an American living overseas, I often think about the countless privileges we have as Americans. But today, my heart breaks for my country. Sending lots of hugs and love to all of the families of black boys in the world, including the ones I used to work with in DC, and remembering some wise words: "There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts." -- Mahatma Gandhi


How can you learn if you can't see? During my time as an inner-city teacher with Teach for America, this wasn't the big question. The barriers we faced there had more to do with second-language education, unstable environments, and students' limited sense of possibility. That's why when I joined Teach for China two years later, I sort of overlooked eyesight as a problem. You see, in Houston, there was an annual vision screening for our students, and if the student couldn't afford glasses, they could still get them with insurance; we didn't really have to question their vision. That's not ...


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