August 29, 2005 It took me about 35 minutes to get him to sit down and read the first question on his homework assignment, but after an hour of tutoring my most uncontrollable student in the dormitories tonight, we high-fived when he got his 2's multiplication tables. Then he broke my heart. "Maybe, you think, if I memorize my multiplication, the girls in class, and the boys, maybe they'll like me, as a friend?" So it's one thing to teach kids. It's a whole other thing to make sure what we're teaching is of high quality and that it's being ...


To all the new teachers out there, I envy you. Some of you have already begun teaching for a couple weeks. Others will start this month. You are about to be inducted into a field of utmost importance where every decision you make, every word you say and every ounce of energy you put in shapes our future. You have the power to close the achievement gap and inspire leaders. It's a truly magical time. And at times, it can be truly painful. For many of you, you will realize what defeat feels like after you spend 8 hours crafting ...


Three weeks ago during our three-day Teach For America orientation for first-year teachers, all program directors gave presentations on Personal-Professional Alignment (PPA). The purpose of the session was to acknowledge that teaching is time-consuming and will lead to stress at certain times (a lot of times). Our responsibilities as adults is to recognize signs of stress, realize what we need to do to maintain balance in our own lives, and what to do when common stress relievers don't work. Throughout the session on PPA, we gave suggestions like planning ahead and not leaving things to the last minute, making sure ...


When I entered my classroom two years ago as a new teacher, I had some very big goals for my students. Not only would they grow by two grade levels in math and reading, they would read 2,490 books and reach all of their IEP goals. Now, after two years of teaching more than 3 dozens students with IEPs and having spent the past few weeks helping train almost a hundred new teachers how to write meaningful big goals for their classrooms, I reflect back on those first goals I wrote (and heavily advertised throughout the year). They make ...


This blog entry is dedicated to planning. Or rather, it's dedicated to my lack of planning. This week, my colleagues and I in the Rio Grande Valley are facilitating the learning of our first-year teachers' on the foundational skills of teaching. They are already proficient in the act of teaching; now we're working on the deep understandings behind it. Among the many skills we're working on this week are developing their class vision and goals by internalizing their standards, determining their course assessments, and starting to long-term plan for their school year. These are critical pieces to teaching, but as ...


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