January 2009 Archives

One of the best things about our Teacher Magazine blog group is the range of perspectives we bring to teaching. The commonalities and the differences in what we know and have experienced as teachers enriches our understanding of our practice. For instance, it might appear that Jessica Shyu and I are worlds apart. I am old enough to be her mother. She's young enough to be my daughter. She’s urban, I’m suburban. I've been teaching 28 years. She's been an educator for three. She is a journalist who decided to be a teacher. I am a teacher who ...


I live and teach on the edge of Washington, D.C. We didn’t have school today and many of my students are attending inaugural events. I will be curious to hear what the kids have to say tomorrow. Our impressions may be vastly different, but when I remember today, this is what I will recall: A chamber quartet playing a Quaker hymn made famous by an American composer. In case you are not familiar with the words: "'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to ...


According to Jay Mathews Educators Resist Even Good Ideas from Outsiders. ….it’s time to disclose a great truth about even the best educators I know: As much as they deny it, they really don’t like outsiders messing with the way they do their jobs. Mathews is right. As teachers we have a heavy workload, a tight timeline, a limited budget, rigid procedural protocols, and stringent quality control. Decisions such as grading scales and school start times are policy changes that teachers and building administrators on the front line of education do not make. Here in Virginia, these decisions ...


After twenty-three years in our house, we couldn't put off refinishing the floors any longer. In the process, we have had to completely empty every closet and cabinet in the house. And I've discovered that in 22 years you can acquire an awful lot of stuff. I unearthed a few forgotten treasures and a quite a bit of junk, but mostly found that over the years I had stuffed every closet in my house with, you know, stuff. A lot of it was good stuff, but it was stuff I didn't really need or use any more. Mostly there was ...


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