Why Teens Don’t Talk to Us

"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

We Have a Problem with Alternative Education, and We Need to Talk About It

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

Something Deeper: On Teaching with Heart and the Poetry of Teaching

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

Going beyond grades: Why we HAVE to do better.

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.

Four-Horsemen of the Motivational Apocalypse

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

Searching for Sasquatch: Why unmotivated people don’t exist

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