March 2008 Archives

Question: Which of the following issues do you care about? a) POVERTY b) DISCRIMINATION c) HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES d) INSUFFICIENT HEALTH CARE Answer: e) Any of the above and EDUCATION Reasoning: If you care about any of those things, you deeplycare about education. (See below) Before 2005, I never cared to be a teacher. It's not that I didn't want to be a teacher-- I liked children and I had spent some time tutoring in my day and thought teaching was fun-- I didn't care to be one. Being a teacher seemed... lame. And unambitious. And unimportant. I remember someone ...

Update: This part got buried below, but it's a critical message that I want to highlight. "First year and other new teachers out there-- YES YOU CAN. You CAN get your students to read two grade levels higher by the end of the year. You CAN get your third graders who can't yet subtract to multiply and divide like cute little actuaries by the end of the year. DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT YOU CAN'T. I DID IT, MY COLLEAGUES DID IT, AND A NUMBER OF MY FIRST-YEAR TEACHERS ARE DOING IT THIS VERY MINUTE. IT'S VERY HARD, BUT ...

"The world is becoming smaller and smaller and smaller, and we need to compete with others for jobs. We need to be sure we know as much as they do. When we complain about homework, we need to know people in other parts of the world are doing more homework. It just needs to be done." It was pretty awesome to see the sixth graders sit back in quiet shock with that quick dose of reality as their teacher explained the school day structure for students in Japan. Also, kudos to her for building her students' skill at synthesizing information ...

Whenever I saw a new piece of artwork hung up in the school hall, or when the school purchased a new fleet of Chevy Malibus, I would get petty and think to myself: They could have just added that to my paycheck. I imagine that is so at most schools. A lot of money is spent on stuff that doesn't necessarily add direct or close-indirect value to student learning-- a lot of money that could have been added to my paycheck. Now, an up-and-coming New York City charter school is doing just that. No, they're not adding to my paycheck ...

I'm technically working, and shouldn't be, say, scanning The New York Times homepage. And I definitely shouldn't be publicizing my non-productivity. But I am and I will. Check out the article on the negative impact of TVs in children's bedrooms. According to the article, "Children with bedroom TVs score lower on school tests and are more likely to have sleep problems. Having a television in the bedroom is strongly associated with being overweight and a higher risk for smoking." "In one two-year study, the devices in half the homes were programmed to reduce children’s overall viewing time by half. (Children...

I read the illustrious The New York Times' extensive article, "Teaching Boys and Girls Separately" once on Friday, again on Saturday, and twice more Sunday. I had to be sure that my sense of underwhelmed-ness and disappointment was genuine. It was. It still is. Perhaps I'm asking too much from an article (I don't think I am), but it could have easily been summed up as: A headline-grabbing theory that people claim makes a significant difference on student learning, but lacks actual hard proof. However, the theory does have with warm and fuzzy anecdotes about kids. And everyone love kids. ...


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