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My Students Told Me That My Classroom “Lacked Soul.” Here’s What I Did

How a teacher who arrived a week before school began started making genuine connections with her kids. The office supply store Staples was my virtual shopping buddy during my first year of teaching. I had arrived in New York City in 2004,  a week before the school year began, to teach 8th grade English Language… Continue reading My Students Told Me That My Classroom “Lacked Soul.” Here’s What I Did

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My Students Took Me To School Today!

Today is the first day I intentionally  took my students outside since the beginning of the year.  (The last time we went outside we had just come back from a field trip so it was an afterthought.) Not only is it a nice day outside but it is one of my student’s birthday, and I… Continue reading My Students Took Me To School Today!

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My Students Experience Project-Based Learning

My students and I just finished up our unit on project-based learning and I’m one happy teacher! Students who had previously “just gotten by” in terms of the quality of work they created were more invested in their projects. When I asked them why, they agreed that getting to choose the topic and the driving… Continue reading My Students Experience Project-Based Learning

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“Home Is Where I Feel Safe and This Classroom is Home to Me”

In my eleven years as an educator, both in the States and abroad, I have always viewed my relationships with students as an indicator of student achievement. I truly enjoy growing and fostering relationships with each child, and think of it as an integral part of my teaching practice. Additionally, I have noticed that when… Continue reading “Home Is Where I Feel Safe and This Classroom is Home to Me”

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Thirteen Reasons Why

At the bidding of my 17 year-old daughter. I’m watching the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”  WOW!! What an amazing series! It’s based on the Young Adult novel of the same name by author Jay Asher about a girl named Hannah Baker who commits suicide and leaves thirteen cassette tapes explaining why she did so.… Continue reading Thirteen Reasons Why

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Black Teachers “Get” Black Students

Black teachers “get” Black students. We “get” students, in general. We “get” a lot of things because of our nuanced and varied experiences being Black in America. Having a Black teacher is especially beneficial to students of color because that deeper level of understanding that we have affords our Black students a greater opportunity to… Continue reading Black Teachers “Get” Black Students

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Spring Break, Teacher Wellness, and Self-Care

Spring Break is here!!! Finally! It’s a long-awaited and much-needed reprieve from  standardized testing, parent-teacher conferences, student drama, after-school programs, professional development sessions, and overall  hectic schedules that are just part of this teacher life that we love — and hate — at the same time! We teachers give so much of ourselves to so… Continue reading Spring Break, Teacher Wellness, and Self-Care

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The Trickle-Down Effect of Lowering Teacher Standards

“I read that New York teachers don’t have to be literate, anymore. Is that true, Mom?,” my seventh-grader asked last week. He’s recently become determined to “fix all education in America” (I have no idea where a son of mine could have picked up such an interest), and was on the Internet doing research. He’d… Continue reading The Trickle-Down Effect of Lowering Teacher Standards

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Ed Trust Needs To Take Several Seats in the Back of My Classroom!

In response to New York State’s decision to eliminate the Academic Skills Literacy Test for teacher certification,  Education Trust Executive Director Ian Rosenblum stated on Tuesday, “it is deeply disappointing that the Regents and State Education Department are lowering the bar for teacher literacy skills…We should be focusing on ensuring that prospective teachers receive the support… Continue reading Ed Trust Needs To Take Several Seats in the Back of My Classroom!

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Teachers’ Salaries Are The Brunt of the Joke — Except We’re Not Laughing!

“Make sure you contribute to the TDA!,” I hear. “Teachers retire as millionaires!,” I hear.  I listen faithfully and every paycheck a deduction is taken out, set aside for the rainy days of my retirement. I’m pretty confident that when that time comes, the contributions that  I have made to my pension plan will leave… Continue reading Teachers’ Salaries Are The Brunt of the Joke — Except We’re Not Laughing!