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What Should Teachers Know About How Mass Incarceration Intersects With The Classroom?

Our guest today is Whitney Q. Hollins. She is a special educator in the NYC DOE, a Research Assistant at We Got Us Now and a doctoral student at C.U.N.Y. Graduate Center. Whitney and I do advocacy work together and what struck me most about her when we first met was her sharp mind. She’s… Continue reading What Should Teachers Know About How Mass Incarceration Intersects With The Classroom?

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How Deeply Do You Think About Language?

“I’m having a hard time getting through this because of the language. The constant referral to incarcerated individuals as inmates speaks to the inhumane vantage point from which they are viewed by society. Imagine if we all were forever referred to by the result of our worst decision in life?” This was my response to… Continue reading How Deeply Do You Think About Language?

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African-American Pedagogical Experts Are What This Surge Of Student Social Activists Needs!

Last week, the nation watched as students from across the United States walked out of their school buildings and took their voices to loudspeakers and microphones as they spoke their truth about the negative ways gun violence in our schools affects them. My building principal recognized early on that students were going to participate in… Continue reading African-American Pedagogical Experts Are What This Surge Of Student Social Activists Needs!

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Educators and Professional Development: Quality Versus Quantity

I must say, I’m very grateful for the pre-service training that I received as a student preparing to be a teacher and in the early years of my career when I was a substitute and leave replacement teacher. My professors, cooperating teachers, and the department chairs that supervised me all embedded and modeled for me… Continue reading Educators and Professional Development: Quality Versus Quantity

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Why Do I #LoveTeaching? It’s Complicated!

As a teacher, is it even possible to pick a singular “This is why I do what I do!” eureka moment or reason? I started to investigate. Jen Ryan, a math teacher in New Jersey, expressed, “I teach for the little moments that remind me that I am making a difference in my students’ lives… Continue reading Why Do I #LoveTeaching? It’s Complicated!

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Why “Black Panther” Is A “Must See” For All Black Students

Yesterday, a student asked a colleague of mine why there isn’t a White History Month. The student, who happens to be Black, asked the question with all seriousness. I didn’t want my facial expression to give way to the 20-floor drop that my heart took to the pit of my stomach as soon as I… Continue reading Why “Black Panther” Is A “Must See” For All Black Students

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Encouraging the Absurd or Uncomfortable: The Power of Validating Student Ideas

(Alexandra Cohl is an academic and creative writer who is currently an MA English Literature candidate at The City College of New York. She is also a writing instructor to writers ages 6-18 and professional development program leader for in-school teachers at Writopia Lab, a national literacy nonprofit. Her fiction can be read in Luna… Continue reading Encouraging the Absurd or Uncomfortable: The Power of Validating Student Ideas

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When Diversifying Staff, It All Comes Down to Principals!

A school is only as good as its administrators’ execution of their vision. It starts at the top. Building administrators — specifically, school principals — are the ones who do the hiring of teachers. So much rides on their cultural competence, and this factors heavily into the hiring of teachers of color — or lack… Continue reading When Diversifying Staff, It All Comes Down to Principals!

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The Holidays Are Not A Happy Time For All Students

Thanksgiving into the New Year is one of my favorite times of year — (besides my birthday, of course!).  All of the delicious Jamaican delicacies that only get made during the Holidays, the decorating of the Christmas tree, the giving and receiving of heartfelt gifts, and the inherent hope that the prospect of a new… Continue reading The Holidays Are Not A Happy Time For All Students

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Know Me By My Name, Or Else!

It is completely disgusting to witness adults working with adolescents but have yet to learn their names. To not make an attempt to pronounce, remember, and then consistently use a teenager’s name invites a high level of disdain. I get really defensive.  Adults serve as role models and beacons of social cues yet consistently waste… Continue reading Know Me By My Name, Or Else!