"My friend told me I should talk to you. I'm really struggling and I didn't know who else to talk to..." Frequently, students come to my room, starting conversations like this. Some of them I have in class. Some I've never met. I work with them after school or during their lunch, listening to their … Continue reading Why Teens Don’t Talk to Us
There is no shortage of articles and musings on the issue of teacher burnout. Why can't we gain and retain quality teachers? Low pay. Little respect. Testing. Classes wrought with internal and external malaise: apathetic students, dated facilities, finger-wagging parents, administrators, and legislatures all getting speared with blame. I can attest to many of these … Continue reading Are you a mentor or a de-mentor?
If you work with teenagers (or parent one) you've probably heard of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why, a series based on Jay Asher's book of the same title. It's that show everyone seems to be talking about. The gist, if you haven't seen the series or read the book, is this: A teenager, Hannah Baker, takes … Continue reading Essential Questions for 13 Reasons Why
I love 5% of the “reply all” emails I get at school. Wait . . . I hate 100% of the “reply all” emails I get at school. I only love the 5% of reply alls that get hijacked by my smart ass colleagues who turn them into jokes. Take the day we got notice … Continue reading The 9 Types of People Ruining Your School Email
A second grader made me cringe the other day. I visited my wife's class and a girl was showing the class her pictures from a recent soccer tournament. Someone asked how her team did. Her response? “We got second place. BUT, we actually should have gotten first because the other team cheated and the refs … Continue reading Stop the Blame Game: Teaching Students to Take Ownership
One of my greatest thrills is helping my students share their experiences, their passions, and their lessons in writing. So, I'm geeked to share the following post my student, Bailee Rieman, wrote for WeAreTeachers. Check it out. What It's Like to Be a Kid With OCD by Bailee Rieman "I don't want to live anymore." I said … Continue reading What it’s like to be a kid with OCD (and what teachers can do to help)
For all the great educators I've met, including those who are soon to lend their passion and talents to the field. Please share this with an educator you know! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bySSgjbjqqw Huge gratitude to Kevin Romeo, Daniel Juan Martinez and the whole RHINO MEDIA PRODUCTIONS team, as my student volunteers.
Traveling always strengthens and reaffirms my faith in teachers across America. Read on for a reflection I wrote for WeAreTeachers during a recent stint to work with a small village in Alaska. For years I've been teaching. For these same years I've been exposed to conversations about teachers in America. Each day I hear people talk about what … Continue reading Why I have faith in American educators: I see America teaching
“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.
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