Some critics of education quip that teachers need to change, as if we don't face change on a weekly, a daily, a minute-to-minute basis. Think about all the changes you were expected to make in just the last year of your teaching. Ten. That's the number – a conservative estimate – of changes we faced as a … Continue reading To Make Change This School Year, It’s All About the Benjamins
“What are your thoughts on student motivation?” my principal recently asked. Knowing that I have an interest in motivation, as well as a love of working with at-risk students, he wanted to know my thoughts on why our achievement gap wasn't narrowing. As a teacher, I of course had many thoughts. But, the many thoughts … Continue reading What Kills Student Motivation? We Asked Them.
It's coming. Soon. Before you know it, we'll be back in school trying to bolster up our mental fortitude for that one reoccurring event that taxes our patience and our joy: The dreaded staff meeting. Soon we'll be jammed into a library or cafeteria, forced to awkwardly create those collegial good vibes and hurrahs. If … Continue reading Survive your upcoming school year with Staff Meeting BINGO!
My favorite event of the school year is graduation. But it's not the graduation you are picturing. I love the graduation ceremony of our local alternative high school, the kind of school at which many teachers scoff. You know the one: filled with the “problems” and misfits that weren't smart enough, motivated enough, good enough … Continue reading A Graduation that Taught Me About Student Resilience
We sometimes find ourselves in a culture of product-based praise. The A's, the high test scores, the right answers: These are our educational celebrities. But we lose sight of the process, the effort, the risk it takes learners to achieve those great scores and grade point averages. In doing so, the message is sent: The product is … Continue reading 7 Ninja Moves for Increasing Academic Risk-Taking
Picture a baby. A fresh one. Straight out of the womb. It's probably making a bunch of noise. It's probably gross looking (let's be honest: this whole “cute newborn” thing is a myth). Despite the grossness of this baby, it came into the world wired with a certain skill set. On a résumé, this baby … Continue reading How Academic Risk-Taking Dies in the Classroom
Twenty-four of my students are failing. Only two are passing. They are failing in the grade book. They are failing in mastering content. They are failing in overcoming the abyss of apathy that is a characteristic of the students I teach. And, because of this, I am failing. I have tried dozens of techniques and … Continue reading An Open Letter to Myself: Don’t Give Up
Check out my latest, via WeAreTeachers: 7 Tips for Creating a More Positive Mindset in Education.
The following is adapted from a 2014 National Honor Society induction speech I was asked to give to the students of Plainwell High School. Read on 'til the end for a personal challenge. -------------------------------------- There’s a saying in education: “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” Have you heard this before? I think … Continue reading Three Questions Worth Asking