Yo Teach…! Or how to avoid teaching like Jason

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 11 2012

What we lack in skill…!

I’ve never spent much time on this blog saying anything flattering about my teaching skill. That’s because, like most first/second year teachers, I don’t have much. I’m sure my principal (and coworkers after a few beers) would agree that especially in my first 2/3 of a year, management and organizational issues often prevented me from…

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Oct 06 2012

The Psychology* of teaching part II

* My philosopher friend tells me psychology is the wrong word because there is absolutely no science in these posts, just discussion and extrapolation of first-person thought processes. The real word is phenomenology, apparently. Sorry. Quick thought: what is the most powerful incentive to teachers? Keeping their job? Getting a promotion? Getting a bonus? Not losing…

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I think one of the most difficult jobs of a teacher is taking responsibility for everything they do. Since this may sound condescending, I’ll speak in the first person. As a teacher, it can be hard in the moment for me to realize every time my class seems “bad”, it is more likely a reflection…

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Sep 27 2012

Rick Hess’ vision for school reform

Not yet finished with the article, which is equally dismissive of past democratic and republican efforts to improve schools over the past decades. So far though, I think this critique of RTTT gets at the heart of the  problem with Duncan’s innovative–but in the end still ineffective–attempt to implement federal reforms in a way that…

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I happened to be CC’d on a thread where my team (10+ year veteran at the school) lead sent some things to the social studies coach at my school. In her response, the social studies coach advised the team lead “please be advised before administering a formative assessment I need a paper copy 3 weeks…

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Very good article about how ed tech and privatization are becoming increasingly intertwined. This is a problem for those (like the author and myself) who are skeptical of educational privatization but optimistic about education technology. I believe vouchers go way too far, but it seems like many are thinking of an even more extreme view of…

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I cannot recommend Paul Tough’s book How Children Succeed highly enough. It contains fascinating literature reviews on cognitive psychology and the impact of early childhood adversity on adolescents and adults, incredible stories to illustrate these points, and a lot of useful tips for teachers who are skeptical of whether or not mastery of a set…

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Sep 08 2012

Into the Belly of the Beast

In my very short life as an educational thinker and teacher, I have had just about every view on education reform. As a freshman in college, I immersed myself in Marxist critiques in our public school system, believing that NCLB was the culmination of a capitalist takeover of our schools to proletarianize students, prepping them…

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Hey 2012 CMs! I’m a 2011 corps member. I’m not a particularly good teacher; maybe not even a good teacher at all, though I try really hard to get better.  But nevertheless, I think I have some important advice that you can benefit from. If someone uses your experience, which you so honestly and bravely share with…

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Aug 10 2012

Education needs more useful debates

The current educational debate can be very frustrating. On the one hand, I find most ecstatic “reformers” ignorant of what it means to be a teacher, arrogant about power of their ideas, oblivious to the unintended consequences of their inherently limited proposals, and uninterested in the way their proposals get implemented, even though this is perhaps the…

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Pontifications of the Unplaced


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