"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
Educate every child. That is the audacious aim of American education. Sometimes I marvel at our commitment to that aim. Other times, that pursuit seems overwhelming, given the diverse learners in any and every classroom. But, no matter how daunting the task, we go into education wanting every child to succeed. Or do we sometimes … Continue reading We Have a Problem with Alternative Education, and We Need to Talk About It
Many people know that I'm an avid "bucket lister." The list, which I started 8 years ago, has pushed me to take risks, prioritize, and never lose sight of my passions. Soon, I will get a chance to check off one of the most daunting items on my list: #5: Publish a book. Since September, … Continue reading Let the writing begin . . .
Hi all, You may have noticed that I haven't posted here in months. Let me explain why: I have a new job, one that has taken a lot more time, attention, and energy than even my most liberal guesses. I'm now a parent of a fussy, growing, baby boy. So, if you're wondering why I … Continue reading Why you haven’t heard from me in a bit
Teaching is poetry. It's the creation of something deeper, something sleeping below a classroom structure. Its meaning is buried underneath flash cards and Power Points, grade checks and rubrics. The surface seems simple and direct -- we see the quizzes and cold-calls as clearly as pure rhymes. The bells ring and the lines break and we prepare for … Continue reading Something Deeper: On Teaching with Heart and the Poetry of Teaching
What do you think is the lowest G.P.A. I need in order to get into a good retirement home -- one of those fancy ones with never-ending soft serve ice cream and Jeopardy tournaments in the common area? How many gold stars do you think I need in order say, "I'm happy"? Oooh, most importantly, … Continue reading Going beyond grades: Why we HAVE to do better.
Glance around your classroom, or house, or job. If you work with groups of kids, chances are you'll notice some things. - You will notice one kid picking his nose. Hard. If he's older, he may be trying to hide it. Under 10 years old and he is proudly showcasing his gold. Regardless, no nose … Continue reading Dear Kill-Joy, Take a Breather.
NOPE! N.O.P.E. I refuse. I won't. I don't want to. I can't. These are the words we teachers loathe to hear, yet seem to hear on the daily. Lack of motivation (amotivation) is one of our greatest plagues on the individual, educational, and societal level. What contexts cause it? And, is there anything we … Continue reading Four-Horsemen of the Motivational Apocalypse
Picture an average teenage boy. Probably smells like stale sweat doused in a layer of Axe Body Spray. Atrocious haircut. Eyes glazed by the flashing images of Call of Duty blaring from the screen. Poster child of "whatever." His parents, not wanting to raise a child into an adult pile of mud, want to see … Continue reading Searching for Sasquatch: Why unmotivated people don’t exist