Once, a fifth-grader informed me that she hated science. According to her, it was a stupid, boring subject. Not class, subject. I tried to convince her otherwise but to no avail. The following year, the topic of science came up again, and I assumed that her opinion had not changed, but lo and behold: it… Continue reading Teacher/Subject Conflation
“Mister, can we speak with you?” three young ladies asked as they approached me one day between classes. They were there on behalf of a fourth young lady, their friend Danielle. It was prom season and Danielle wanted to go but didn’t have the funds. From time to time I would anonymously pay for things… Continue reading A Very Special High School Prom Conspiracy Abetted By A Very Special Teacher.
I sent out the following tongue-in-cheek email to my family and a few friends on my last day of teaching: Did you hear about the disturbance that took place in Harlem at 11:45am today? Apparently there was this teacher dancing down the streets in celebration. He walked out of the rear door of his school… Continue reading Why Was This Teacher Doing The Funky Chicken On 116th Street in Harlem?
A bit of what follows will seem defiant to some readers. To other readers, my point of view will be like preaching to the choir. Be that as it may, I’m simply writing about my approach to teaching. As my career progressed, I decided that I was going to stop doing stupid and hopefully do… Continue reading “I Chose To Stop Doing Stupid and Start Doing Smart”: A Veteran Teacher Reflects on Lessons Learned.
Most of my students are visual learners; I’ve written before about the role Broadway musicals played in my classroom before I retired in June. Motion pictures played a strategic role as well. I wanted to make connections through film that would help students retain content knowledge in my Global History, U.S. History, African-American Studies and… Continue reading This Veteran NYC Teacher “Meets Students Where They Are.” How? Let’s Go to the Movies!
One of my very best childhood friends who has known me since we were the same age of the students that I’ve taught over these years had a question for me. He asked, now that retirement has arrived, what were my goals when I first began teaching and did I meet these goals? An interesting… Continue reading Veteran Teacher Explains How He Went From A “Babe In the Woods” to “Developing a Clear Vision.”
Around this time every school year, I reflect upon my professional glows and grows as well as my students’ academic and social progress. This year is no different. The four key things I learned this 2018-2019 school year are: (1) It’s beneficial to build relationships with all students in my school — whether I am… Continue reading Of the Four Key Things I’ve Learned This School Year, This One Stands Out The Most.
I begin this post by acknowledging the life and the community work of the late Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom. He was a tangible example of what I teach my students about the power they have to define and transform their lives even from the most harrowing of circumstances. Although many, including myself, never had the… Continue reading Mentoring Is a Necessary Pillar of Education and Community: Thoughts on Nipsey Hussle.
This is a guest post by Gregory Wickham, a student at Stuyvesant High School. Gregory is a 2013 2nd place winner of the Michael Perelstein Memorial Scholarship Discover Your Passion Competition, and a quarter-finalist in the 2014 Young Rewired State Festival of Code. You can find his website at gregorywickham.com. A certain woman wrote an article detailing some of… Continue reading This NYC Student Takes Offense at A Teacher’s Cavalier Abandonment of “Disruptive” Children.
In my November 5th post, In Mixed Ability Classrooms, Who Is Really Doing the Teaching, I reiterated my contention that it’s very difficult for teachers to work effectively in a classroom where students come in with wildly different levels of preparedness. This post triggered intense pushback on Facebook from teachers, who insisted they had been… Continue reading Should Teachers Forbid Students From Learning Outside of School? What Happens When They Do?