We really don't need to be in the front of the room talking--pointing at a slide, rapidly firing questions at students and cold calling to make sure they are paying attention--in order to be "teaching." We know this, yet we still do it so much of the time. Just take a quick walk through the halls of your school and peek into each classroom. Where is the teacher? Who's talking?
There is little more difficult than trying to engage a whole class of students in reading a novel that is a poor match for the group. There are things teachers can do to influence the experience in one direction or another, but a great deal rests purely on the book itself...Once we have some possible titles in mind, we need to think through our decisions very carefully, going in with as clear an understanding of what might work really well about the book and what might be challenging or disappointing about it. Below is an excerpt adapted from Whole ...
The local union's ability to negotiate a decent deal on behalf of teachers pretty directly pressures charters to fall in line and stay competitive. It that power goes away, charter school teachers who have benefited from this unspoken relationship are likely to feel the difference as much or more than their district counterparts.
When we cut school librarians and rely solely on teachers to curate classroom libraries, we open the door to several problems and close the door to other key benefits.
Every year I have some students who arrive to my class with a fear or dislike of poetry. Spending some time away from deconstruction of meaning of poems has always worked to put these students at ease and allow them to open up to poetry anew.
Language can be limiting; it can also be liberating. With that in mind, I wanted to look at some of ways we categorize people and ideas in education, and how they might represent false dichotomies that need to be opened up.
There's a strange power children and adolescents can derive from watching adults be clueless about something they know—it's the role reversal that makes it a novel event.
I share these two stories for the chance they offer to think about the power of our words to students. What sentence will you say to a student--intentionally or not--that will stay with them for the rest of their lives? That might, for better or worse, reframe how they see themselves? How do we show students we see them?
If we provide structure and support for students to raise their voices and take action, they can astonish us with their capacity—and show us a good time!
Now that I've settled in a bit, I'm back to asking the eternal question: can I somehow do it all? Teach, write, lead, parent...and live? The difference is that I used to ask it with the underlying attitude of, "Of course I can!" and then spread myself too thin. Now I ask the same question from a place of, "Probably not, and that's okay; we all have to make choices, but I'll keep asking." This has the feel more of a puzzle than a wall: like when you think you are close to solving a Rubik's Cube, but then ...