reflections

Waiting

Waiting

I stepped back into my classroom for the 11th year after another summer of learning and growth. I was armed with new ideas, a thicker suit of armor to protect my sensitive empath soul, and, of course, a heart full of unconditional love. I ditched my plans to go over the syllabus on my first day, choosing instead to have students engage in a series of stations to break up the monotony of their day, giving them a chance to move rather than to sit and get.

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Supplying a more responsible, equitable classroom.

Supplying a more responsible, equitable classroom.

As we’re kicking off another exciting year of education, I’m making my annual trip to the store to resupply our classroom. And each year, I reflect on what I could buy to make my space a little more equitable for all — whether that be small things we’re unable to get at home, or just little things that make my space slightly more human-centered.

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“You Do Not Have to Be Good”: De-emphasizing Product in Arts Education

“You Do Not Have to Be Good”: De-emphasizing Product in Arts Education

If you are an arts educator whose students have presented work to the public, you have probably heard something like this. On the one hand, it is a lovely sentiment. Someone has consumed the play, art show, concert, dance recital, etc. that your students made, and they have enjoyed it. And the compliment seems meant to extend to you: the students did well, and therefore, so did you.

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Tracing Letters

Tracing Letters

If a child goes off the rails a bit in our system early on, the approach is usually to try and re-engineer the student through pharmacological intervention and/or behavioral remediation without questioning the contributions the system may have made.

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The Real World

The Real World

By high school, though, I had internalized this “real world” dialogue and found myself constantly looking to the next milestone in my life. Part of this had to do with the childhood I had, but most of it was that I had been taught the life I was living wasn’t, well, real.

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You Can…Until You Can’t

You Can…Until You Can’t

Learning requires an “I can attitude.” We want our kids to believe in themselves, so their attitudes take them to higher altitudes. And so on. We certainly seem to offer a lot of talk in ed about the power of can. But I wonder if our walk matches our talk.

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Lies on Their Shoulders

Lies on Their Shoulders

Whether we think it or say it, when we warn kids with the “real world,” it is an affront to their existence, to their humanity, to their reality. The kids, the humans above attend Anywhere High School in Everywhere, World. And whether it was yesterday, today, or tomorrow their world feels real enough. Ask them. They’ll tell you.

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Assurance

Assurance

At first glance, progressive-style classrooms appear like teachers don’t care. Instead of a “well-behaved”, quiet room, students are conversing, moving around, (sometimes) quite messy, and likely taking many breaks. Without the backing of pedagogy, this would be a classic example of “bad teaching.”

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Taking the Plunge

Taking the Plunge

A semester in the making, this changed everything about M’s project. She had originally wanted a wider audience with a published video to YouTube, but after she received the reply, she immediately asked to present her research to the class so we could all share in her passion, ask questions, and respond and react in real time.

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Finding Your Purpose in Education

Finding Your Purpose in Education

Finding my purpose in education was born out of an immense frustration with education itself. After night after night of cramming lesson plans that paired perfectly with standards (and “differentiating” with the latest tech tool), grading 80+ assignments, and becoming increasingly frustrated with students forgetting everything I told them, I began to wonder why I even bothered. I drank more, I was increasingly negative and irate, and I lost much of the drive I entered the profession with.

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