November 2013 Archives

Four random things I'm grateful for: My perch at Education Week; the recent groundswell of interest in curriculum, instruction and assessment; regular opportunities to hang out in thriving public schools; and the fact that I seldom encountered the "coddled" students out there needing a dose of grit.

I was relieved when my tenure as National Teacher of the Year ended because I heard a school bell ring and I was able to answer it. I returned to my classroom and to those who most needed me in their dysfunctional lives. I cannot answer the question why I teach without telling the story of my life because my story is written on the pages of the lives of too many children. My story is the story of the students whom I teach and mentor. And that is why I remain a classroom teacher.

Kids do need to own their own boredom, because it's an individualized, internal response to outside stimuli (or lack thereof). What's mind-numbing to one child may be inspiring to another, so teaching children to dissect their own boredom--and, yes, deal with it--is an essential life skill.

We should teach students that boredom, like any problem, can be your friend. Brushing your teeth is boring, too, but that doesn't mean you should stop.


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