There is nothing quite like receiving a hand-written card or letter in the mail addressed just to you. Last year, I wrote and sent Christmas cards to each of my students. It wasn't for their parents, their siblings or anyone else-- just them. Iridescent polar bear cards aren't much, but it was something small I could do to make each and every one of them feel special. This year, the favor has been returned. Last week, I received a Christmas card from one of my students with learning disabilities. When I first met her at the start of the year, ...

I used to say that there is nothing like the high you get from watching a kid learn. But I have to add to that now. There is nothing quite like watching a teacher learn to be a better teacher and be able to get his/her kids to learn even more. But I still miss teaching. Eventually, I will return to the classroom. But in the meantime, I will brag about my teachers' growth, and I will retell stories about my students in New Mexico. That is what I did last week when I went to Boulder, Colo., to ...

Dear Readers, I will be posting every Tuesday as well as on the weekend from now on. I love hearing suggestions on how to improve the blog-- if you have a suggestion or a topic you'd like to read about, please leave a message. Thank you for the great feedback so far! Jessica Name a junk food and chances are, I'll eat it. But as much as I love junk, I don't want our schools to love junk too. Schools have a responsibility to be models in the community, and as much as I love McDonald's No. 3 breakfast meal (artery...

"Long nights" and "Dark(er) Novembers" aren't limited to classroom educators. Everyone, from principals to custodians and apparently program directors, are prone to some kind of school-year slump too. I know the work we're doing is critical, but I just get so tired sometimes. Students aren't showing significant improvements yet. Teachers are getting bummed out. Morale is low and sometimes it's hard to see the difference my 14-hours of work each day makes. That's why it was so heartening to speak two weeks ago to an accepted 2008 Teach For America-Rio Grande Valley corps member. I got "Meredith's" phone call ...

In New Mexico, we called it the "Long Night." In Texas, it's "Dark October" (which apparently stretches through November...). Whatever its name, it refers to the same thing that creeps up around this time of year for new teachers. It's that time to wonder: Who am I, what am I doing here, and why is that child throwing his chair into the wall? For all you veteran teachers out there, whether you're in your second year or second decade, you know what I'm talking about. It's comes awhile after the August honeymoon. It's been a good couple months of trying ...


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