December 2011 Archives

Over the past year, Education Week Teacher published a mix of stories on teacher issues, including first-person opinion pieces written by teachers, articles offering practical classroom tips, and write-ups of the latest studies and research on the teaching profession.

From reflecting on their classroom experiences to commenting on the latest education news and teaching trends, our bloggers here at Education Week Teacher shared with us their thoughts and insights on the teaching profession over the past 12 months.

As 2011 comes to an end, we look back at our top five most popular Teaching Now posts of the year.

In her blog, Teachers At Risk, special education teacher Elona Hartjes claims to have picked up "second-hand stress" from her students.

Colleges are increasingly exploring the use of student "data"—including everything from grades to instructional-prompt responses to online "click" patterns —to customize instruction and learning opportunities.

Surely this tells us something significant about the current education climate (among other things): It seems that the most powerful person in New York City right now might just be one Elisabeth Krents, the 61-year-old admissions director of the Dalton School on the Upper East Side. It is she, as a New York Times story explains, who decides the fates of the hundreds of over-achieving toddlers each year whose parents are trying to get them into one of the country's most esteemed kindergartens: Power brokers fear her, well-heeled mothers seek advice on how to dress for her, wads of money ...

In an effort to improve their students' standardized test scores, a school in New London, Conn., has hired three behavioral specialists to help reduce classroom disruptions.

Gene Marks, a public accountant who writes about the business of technology, recently posted an item on Forbes' site entitled "If I Were a Poor Black Kid." Marks, as he discloses upfront, is actually a middle-aged white man from a middle-class upbringing. I think it might be about time for some self-identified teachers to jump into the feeding frenzy—excuse me—discussion that the post has generated. (I'm fairly certain teachers will have comments on more than just the ungrammatical first sentence below.) In the piece, Marks writes: If I was a poor black kid I would first and most...

A teacher in Nanuet, N.Y., recently made headlines after she told her 2nd grade class that there is no Santa Claus.

Siobhan Curious posts an e-mail from a fellow English teacher who, try as she might, is having a difficult time stomaching all the poor usage and grammer on Facebook and other social-networking sites.

A new study reports that college students who chewed gum prior to taking a test exhibited improved memory function and performed better than their non-gum-chewing counterparts. The theory behind this, according to one of the study's authors, is that the chewing motion improves blood flow to the brain. Ready to break out the Bazooka in class? Well, there are—as usual—some caveats. Apparently, the cognitive-enhancing effects only last for 15-20 minutes after the gum is chewed. And prolonged chewing—for example, throughout the testing period—seems to negate the benefits as well (because, curiously, it requires extra brain...

Full-time public school teachers working in Title I schools can now apply for a $25,000 cash award sponsored by The New Teacher Project.

A National Education Association commission today issued a report today with specific recommendations for upping pre-service requirements, establishing career paths for teachers, and developing new evaluation systems.

Renee Moore, an award-winning educator in Mississippi, tells the story of a talented young African-American history teacher of her aquaintance who is being driven out of the profession because of his frustration with a state-appointed teaching consultant at his school.

In Indianapolis Public Schools, where the majority of teachers are white and the majority of students belong to ethnic and racial minority groups, teachers are being pushed to bridge cultural divides that may be present in their classrooms.

Former Teach for America corps member and recruiter Gary Rubenstein writes a damning critique of TFA on his blog, arguing that the organization has "lost its way" and is now contributing to the educational inequalities it seeks to eliminate. When he joined the organization 20 years ago, said Rubenstein, there was a major teacher shortage in high-need schools. He and the other new corps members went into classrooms knowing that they would not be great instructors, but that they were filling tough positions no one else wanted. In the blog post, entitled "Why I did TFA, and why you shouldn't," ...

Today, December 1, is World AIDS day. If you're looking for some last-minute ideas to help commemorate the day in the classroom, the website offers fact sheets and posters for download and ideas for using social media to raise awareness. This morning, President Obama and several celebrities spoke at a World AIDS Day event held by ONE, the nonpartisan advocacy and campaigning organization co-founded by U2's Bono. Education International has a "One Hour on AIDS" lesson plan available on its website in 22 languages. Teachers might also be interested in this podcast on the Harvard Graduate School of ...

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