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

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A Call to Help Students Find Purpose

The simplified story is that one of my students cried after I made her pick up garbage for a day. The real story goes more like this: Each trimester, I take my students on a service learning field trip. We spend a morning volunteering at a local homeless shelter. In the afternoon, students pick up … Continue reading A Call to Help Students Find Purpose

My Problem With the Grit Movement (And How We Can Fix It)

This post is a part of the Thriving Learner Series and originally appeared on WeAreTeachers.com. File this one under "Accomplishment Strategies." Imagine hundreds of jigsaw puzzle pieces strewn across a table, waiting to be put together by a student. There are numerous shapes, sizes, and colors. Some puzzle pieces are flipped upside down. The student searches … Continue reading My Problem With the Grit Movement (And How We Can Fix It)

Grit Ladders: A Simple Strategy to Fuel Motivation

I celebrate D-minuses. I celebrate class averages that are just barely above passing. Sometimes I even celebrate a kid just turning in a paper. Not because I have low standards. D-minus is not my end goal. A group of kids barely scraping by in their education is far from my definition of satisfactory teaching. I celebrate … Continue reading Grit Ladders: A Simple Strategy to Fuel Motivation