June 2007 Archives

At 24, I'm old enough to truly understand the value of an excellent education. But I'm also young enough to realize that (many) kids don't go to school only to learn. They go to school to socialize. (Admit it. You don't remember the finer points of Dr. Chase's knockout social studies lesson on Cameroon. You remember the finer points of Kevin from Spanish class.) So isn't it a disservice to students when we take away key opportunities to learn how to socialize appropriately with their peers? I thought my colleague was joking when she mentioned this article over lunch: "Va. ...

As a 22-looking-like-15-year-old teacher starting out two years ago in my own classroom teaching middle schoolers, some of whom actually were 15, it was tempting to use the "buddy" motivation system. I don't look tough. The "No smiling 'til Christmas" rule was dumb. And back then, I had no strong classroom management backbone. I just wanted to be the nice, friendly teacher who everyone liked and therefore behaved for. My lessons were going to be fun, I was going to teach math with different countries as monthly themes. They were going to love me. Needless to say, the super nice ...

Teach with examples. Offer real-life scenarios. Use visuals if appropriate. Less than two weeks ago, I made my official transition from Teach for America corps member to program director by helping usher in almost 100 energetic and committed new teachers to the Rio Grande Valley. On their second evening in the sticky heat of South Texas, I helped facilitate a discussion with a small group of new teachers on their roles as leaders in the community. One of the points we discussed was the organizational theory of change. The theory is two-pronged: In the short term, it means teachers will ...


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