Asking student's to write anti-Semitic propaganda was egregiously stupid and insensitive--but I think I understand what this teacher was trying to accomplish.

Everyone loves the narrative of a poor minority student from an inner-city school who triumphs over all manner of obstacles and ends up at the Ivy League. But the reality is that this doesn't happen nearly as often as we'd like; most top colleges are simply not on these kids' radar.

An alert reader (thanks, cousin B!) sent me this article, about the efficacy of "hybrid" educational models--specifically, a blend of computerized course-work and in-person education with a teacher. In a study involving students at six public universities, findings indicated that students who utilized the hybrid model (working on the computers and meeting with instructors one hour a week) performed the same as students who received only face-to-face instruction. I wondered if these findings would have applications at the high school level. I admit I have some innate resistance to the hybrid model, in that--at the end of the day--it definitely ...

It is incumbent upon me, as a teacher in whose class these subjects are brought up for discussion, to continue to talk about this with the kids.

The kids expressed absolutely none of the sympathy that some of the media outlets have espoused for the now-convicted football players. However, they took an equally critical view of the victim.

So, it wasn't my intention to talk about discipline for a third week in a row. Then I read a letter to the school board of Louisiana's Lafayette Parish written by teacher Abby Breaux, and so much of what she said resonated with me and with other teachers I know that I wanted to mention it in this blog. Ms. Breaux is a 25-year veteran teacher who is leaving the system due to manifold frustrations, including emphasis on standardized testing, de-emphasis on creative teaching, newfangled education "plans" that are pushed on teachers and then done away with in short amounts ...

Engagement (which is what everyone wants to talk about these days!) is something to work on not only at the classroom level, but also at the national level, by providing a broader menu of educational options to high school students. As several commentators on last week's blog suggested, a one-size-fits-all approach to school only promotes engagement for certain kids.

Before I became a high school teacher nearly a decade ago, I envisioned my job would look like this: I'd sit in warm, carpeted room, sun streaming through the windows, surrounded by 15-20 desks, in which well-prepared students (who had all done the reading the night before!) would eagerly raise their hands, vying for floor-time in which to offer their interpretations of passages from Hamlet or Macbeth. I'd call on them one by one, moderating discussions in which the students would respond to each other in an orderly fashion. Then, I'd perhaps put out a question or idea that would ...

My students are certain that most of what they were learning in high school is totally irrelevant to their future career choices.

The gender of the teacher cannot be the only factor that predicts the success of the students--although, sometimes, it really does help.


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