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Archive for October, 2010

Teaching in the Out Back

Trailer at Francis Lewis High SchoolI remember the late Mitch Jayne, who played bass for the Dillards, reminiscing that in the winter the backhouse was 50 yards too far and in the summer it was 50 yards too close. Mitch said sometimes you’d run in to find an old hound dog sleeping inside, just like he owned the place. Now don’t get me wrong, New York City schools have indoor plumbing, and I’ve yet to find an old hound dog in my trailer. And it’s certainly true school trailers are never too close.

Still, the trailers of Francis Lewis High School are full of surprises. If you’re not inclined to travel to parades, you luck out because the marching band practices right outside. Whether it’s “Louie Louie,” “La Bamba,” or a peppy John Phillip Sousa number, they come right to you. You can hear the volume ebb and flow as they march up and down the street. And take it from me, nothing livens up a tedious English exam like an old-fashioned military march. More »

Learning to Love Learning

[Editor’s note: Bronxteach is a fourth-year elementary school teacher. He blogs at bronxteach.com, where this post first appeared.]

Last week my school gave parents an opportunity to meet with teachers. In my halting, broken Spanish I dispensed with as many suggestions as possible for the handful of parents who visited my third-grade classroom. I talked about the importance of homework and reading every day. I talked about ways parents could help their kids learn basic math facts, practice telling time and counting money. I threw a lot of ideas out, and it may have been overwhelming. Before I let them go, I tried to emphasize something more important than all the little ways they could help at home. I tried to add one last message, in my stilted Spanish: “Yo quiero los ninos a aprender como… encantar… aprendiendo.” I want the kids to learn how to love learning. More »

The Teacher And The Preacher

If you missed the powerful combination of AFT President Randi Weingarten and Freddie Haynes, Senior Paster of Dallas’ Friendship West Baptist Church at the 10-2-10 One Nation rally, catch it here, at 2:40.

Al Sharpton: “We Can Not Scapegoat Teachers.”

Reverend Al Sharpton, at the 10-2-10 One Nation rally:

We can not scapegoat teachers. We must hold them accountable, but there is a difference between accountability and union busting.

Tenure and Teacher Evaluation:
The Real Story

AFT President Randi Weingarten speaks out on tenure and teacher evaluation on CBS News’ Sunday Morning show.

Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck

Hat Tip: Crooked Timber

New York Teacher

New York TeacherHighlights from the Sept. 30 issue of New York Teacher:

UFT calls for support for schools with highest needs
UFT President Michael Mulgrew spent the first day of the new school year at two city schools facing the double challenge of meeting the needs of at-risk students with shrinking budgets. He chose not to participate in the chancellor’s first-day school tour in order to focus attention on the wraparound services that schools need to overcome the challenges that threaten academic success.

While for the chancellor, it’s all about test scores
Whether he referred to naysayers throughout history or recent critics of the double-digit drop in test scores, the chancellor visited five schools that were beyond criticism in the world according to Klein: scoring high on tests.

Let the ‘transformation’ begin
“Transformation” may sound like a New Age word, but for educators at the 11 city schools chosen by the Department of Education for the “transformation model,” it’s anything but laid-back and mellow. They are embarking on a new path — and the stakes are high. More »