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July 20, 2017

The Many Ways We Are De-Professionalizing Teaching

The policy goal here is de-professionalizing teaching, establishing it once and for all as a short-term, entry-level technical job designed to attract a revolving door of "community-minded" candidates, who will work diligently for cheap, then get out because they can't support a family or buy a home on a teacher's salary.

February 21, 2017

Advice for New Teachers: Bring About Change

"New teachers: Don't stop speaking up when others may discount your thoughts, or make you feel as if you are too new to know any better."

January 12, 2017

Students: You're the Reason I Come to School Every Day

School talk today is generally around rigorous content and 21st-century skills and how we can measure those to make schools accountable. There is, however, a much more powerful, if subtle, set of factors that makes going to school worthwhile for both students and teachers.

December 28, 2016

Teacher in a Strange Land: Best Blogs of 2016

If you had told me--on New Year's Day, 2016--that we would end the year with Donald Trump headed to the White House (at least occasionally, to govern, if not to live) with Betsy DeVos as his nominee for Secretary of Education, well... it's hard to finish this sentence. Let's review 2016.

October 29, 2016

Teacher Leadership vs. Teacher Professionalism

Teacher leaders are everywhere. Often, they're doing precisely what the established system wants them to do--accepting leadership roles and tasks pre-defined by that same system, for the distinction of being named a leader in a flat profession. Sometimes, they even get compensation or perks. But are they acting as professionals?

July 31, 2016

The Glass Ceiling in Education

Women are role models for each other in all fields, including those that are supposed to be open to females. We've got nobody else. It was downright heartening to see a woman my age who successfully made it all the way through a grueling presidential nomination, the ultimate glass ceiling in America, because she was just that stubborn--no matter what you think of her politics.

June 16, 2016

Teachers, Tragedies and Politics

It's times like this that I'm glad not to be in the classroom on a daily basis. It would be hard for any teacher to pretend to be calm, neutral and gracefully able to push the world out of the classroom in favor of the spelling list and converting fractions into decimals. Like all teachers, I've experienced days when the curriculum was--whether you chose it or not--about what was going on in the world, your town or your school.

June 02, 2016

Rx for Teacher Burnout

The role of teacher-leader supports an individual's own self-image as an efficacious person. Teacher-leaders see themselves, first of all, as teachers. They are educators who want to continue to work as teachers rather than as managers. They also want to invest their know-how and energy beyond the classroom in ways they feel will help improve their school and its instructional effectiveness, their school/community relationships, and the profession at large.

April 20, 2016

Do Teachers Read Professionally?

Who wants to read scholarly journal articles confirming teachers' conviction that they have lost control over what should be their work: instruction, curriculum, assessments, teacher evaluation and which qualifications should permit entry into profession? Not a lot of inspiration there.

March 30, 2016

Whacking the Mole Again: More Thoughts on Teacher Leadership

I have seen any number of education organizations, with thoughtful and important goal statements on their websites, position teacher leadership as something they can somehow teach or imbue (kind of like grit, come to think of it). Yes, there is Stuff You Have to Know to become a teacher leader (teachers don't wade around in policy-making, traditionally). Yes, it helps to collaborate with others who have good ideas. But is there a formalized pathway to leadership? In a sense, it's an insult to excellent teachers everywhere, who have held their grade level cohort or department or buildings together through determination to maintain good programming or to mount campaigns against dumb policies. They are leaders, badge or no badge.

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The opinions expressed in Teacher in a Strange Land are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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