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March 11, 2016

Do Teachers Get to Have Dignity?

In a sense, a teacher is a public person, with an audience of a few hundred students, parents and colleagues, rather than millions of viewers. Like a sportscaster, a teacher's professional reputation is built on her public face, the respect built around her visible work and expertise. She has a right to draw a line between her private life, and her public persona. It's not easy to be a teacher and maintain a private life, entirely separate from your career.

June 13, 2015

When the School Becomes the Graduation Sheriff

Rude behavior is so deeply embedded, even rewarded, in American culture--just turn on cable TV--that making assumptions about who knows how to behave, and who doesn't, is pointless. I like a nice, dignified graduation ceremony as much as anybody. But the way you get that is by teaching appropriate, respectful behavior for more formal events, beginning in kindergarten. Not with threats and recriminations, and certainly not by pressing charges.

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