Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Eloquent, Well-Reasoned, Cooly Logical, Bitingly Witty Take on a Key Educational Issue

Dear Reader,

I hope that you've come to expect certain things from this blog.  An individual data point in the messy scatterplot of classroom experience.  A single hydrogen ion, so to speak, in the intimidating nebula of the education reform movement.  Just one extended metaphor in the bad love poem of Teach for America.

What I mean to say is that I try to personalize these impossibly large issues, and share my small, biased, flawed thoughts to serve as an impetus for identification with, and debate over, the experience of the teacher immersed in the world of TFA and education reform.  I try to provide intellectualism in the best sense of that word: depth without myopia; rigor without insertion of the proverbial head where the sun refuses to shine.  Also I include jokes and silly pictures.

Like this one.

But today, f*** that.  There are maggots...

...in the staff bathroom.

For the past several months I have been watching the maggots go through their entire life cycle.  They hatched from some sort of egg-like thing, grew, molted, grew some more, and emerged as half-inch long, terrifyingly large flies.  Now, they flies have presumably reproduced and created more maggots.

The best part about being in the staff bathroom with the maggots is that the lights turn off if you don't move -- which is fairly normal for a bathroom -- but in this case, they turn off after two seconds, and the sensor has a rather stringent definition of "movement".  Suffice it to say that while peeing (or heaven forbid...), one has to sort of dance back and forth, or else you get left in the dark with wriggling monstrosities that drop from the ceiling and have literally hatched in front of my eyes.


That is all.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Meet My Students Part 2: The Grandmaster

I am no Fischer, Capablanca, nor Kasparov, but I consider myself a decent chess player.  I've read a book or two on tactics and endgames.  I know how the horsey and the pointy-headed guy move.

It's humbling to lose in chess to a student.  It's far more humbling, though, to lose consistently to your worst behavior problem.

Meet S -- real initial, if not real name (obviously).  One way to describe S is as a very spirited, outspoken young man.  Another way is that he can't keep his damn mouth shut.

S is a special education student even though he is undeniably brilliant because he has trouble regulating his behavior.  He can't stay in his seat half the time, and the other half he spends with his face on his desk in a sort of catatonic funk.  In his more lively moments, he is known for hurling aggressive comments at other students ("Come at me, fool!  Come at me right now!") that he considers to be gentle teasing, and other people consider to be mildly to severely annoying.  Personal space is alien to him -- he enjoys running up behind other male students and lifting them off their feet -- as is the concept that other people don't enjoy being called the n-word, even when it is ethnically inaccurate.  He was actually offended when I explained to him that he couldn't conduct a science project for my class on how "hardcore drinking" would affect his mood.

S is a tall, jovial 15-year-old.  He is an inexhaustible fount of smiles, jokes, and barbs; despite his off-color humor, he considers nearly everyone to be his friend, and will gladly hang out with nerds and jocks alike.  After school, he expends his pent-up kinesis in competitive soccer or online video games; while I haven't seen him play either, he is, apparently, a force to be reckoned with.  His life aspiration is to play professional soccer, then father enough sons with different women to create his own soccer team (and it's hard not to notice that -- with his towering height, slim build, and formerly shoulder-length hair [now a perfectly placed fauxhawk] -- he is the spitting image of a European soccer star).

Yet there are moments of insight, and even pathos, within S as well.  "Teachers don't like me," he proclaimed, somewhat unprovoked, one time.  Another, when I asked him why his test scores were so low despite the fact that he knows all the material, he responded that "with written answers, I just don't care.  Sometimes I write something, and I know it's wrong, but I already wrote it, and if it's right to me then, why change it?"

I initially wasn't sold on S -- in class, he can be a nightmare to try to manage (at least, he could at the beginning of the year), and while he considered himself to be a charming class clown, his unprovoked racial slurs often earned him a chorus of "Shut UP!"s from his classmates.  But then, I played him in chess.

Early this year, I had a chess club.  It went the way of the Dodo for scheduling reasons, but I'll never forget the first time I played against S.  He carefully removed a glass chessboard from his backpack and proceeded to demolish me.  Worst was that he actually explained to me, in advance, what he was going to do; I still couldn't stop him from doing it.  And rather than thinking in terms of single pieces, or tactical elements, like I did (and do), he saw the movement of the whole board.  "I'm going to have to strengthen my queenside," he would say nonchalantly, seeing my plan of attack five moves in advance.

Our record currently stands at 3-1-1 (advantage his, of course), and through these matches (and others left unfinished) I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for S.  He has become one of my favorite students, and, in his own baffling way, he has become quite friendly toward me.  He often drops in during my other classes to yell threatening comments at my students, and, as I practically chase him out the door, he'll look over his shoulder and cheerily belt out "Oh, Hi Mr. N!"  His performance in class has improved as well, and he rarely speaks out-of-turn; while most of the teachers at my school consider that tremendous progress, I'm saddened at by how far short of his potential he seems content to fall.

I honestly believe that S is one of the most (if not the most) brilliant students I have.  I have some highly impressive students (one worked through a college genetics textbook just for the hell of it, and got nearly every problem right); while S lacks the patience for these mental feats, he is able to absorb information immediately, and without really paying attention.

But he is passing by the seat of his athletic shorts, and, try as I might, I can't come up with a plan that works for him.  I've spoken with him one-on-one at length; I've met with his mother on multiple occasions; I've sat in on a meeting with his Special Ed teacher.  For a while, S would pay attention and do his work if I gave him the chance to be my teachers' assistant -- which meant that he got to come up to the board and review the practice problems with the class -- but he lost interest in that after a while.  Upon learning that he struggled with written tests, I developed an oral assessment scheme with him and his Special Ed teacher -- only to have him back out of the plan at the last minute.

Hence, the intriguing challenge of S; the tactical tango of thrusts and parries that feels so much like a chess game I can't seem to win.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Meet My Students Part 1: A Letter From the Past

At the end of TFA Institute, all of us budding teachers had to write a letter to ourselves.  The letter was to be a sympathy card; an expression of consolation from past self to future self, to help the latter get through the hard times that would surely be awaiting the former.

My letter included this excerpt:

"...remember... how you realized that what really makes you love this job isn't the abstract sense of good you get, or how "noble" everyone thinks you are, or even the fact that you get to talk about science every day.  It's that you get to make real connections with real people.  They are not "students" who you get to unload your love of science on, they are people with so much potential waiting to be unlocked.  Try to find it in everyone: remember ______, ________ and even _______ -- your proudest stories were just being able to talk to your students as people.  Telling ______ he was a natural leader.  Telling _______ you admired her courage to challenge you.  Telling ________ you'd make sure his mother knew what an amazing student he is.  Take the time to make those connections.  It's more important than anything you can teach them, and it will be what makes your years as a teacher really matter.  Stop being such a ****ing solopsist.  Reach out."

For all his cheesiness and sarcastic use of quotation marks, I think past me had (has?) a point.  So over the next few posts, I will be writing sketches of some of my favorite, most interesting, and most challenging students (or should it be "students," past self?  Touché).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Brick in the Wall Part 3: The Students Speak Up!

Forgive the lack of focus in this post -- I recently had an opportunity to converse with some of the older students at my school, and wanted to record the gist of this conversation.  They offered some interesting perspectives on the teaching profession, anxieties about college, and the argument I developed in my last two posts about freedom in high school.

            Yesterday I was covering for the 11th and 12th grade chemistry honors class and didn’t have a lesson plan.  Since many of the students were applying to college or had already been admitted, they began to ask me questions about my own experience; soon, the question of why I had become a teacher came up.
            I explained that I had abandoned being pre-med at the last minute, but had been tutoring and mentoring for many years and realized that I loved teaching and working with students.  I also talked about my life-long love of science and my desire to share it.
            One of my students responded like this: “I’m going to college, and since I haven’t grown up with money, I almost feel like I’d be wasting my degree if I didn’t do something that would make me really rich.”  It was interesting to hear this perspective; having grown up around a reasonable amount of money, I have always wanted to be comfortable, but being truly wealthy is never something I have given that much thought to.
            The conversation turned toward education and my views on it.  I articulated, more or less, the argument of my previous post; that students enter college un-accustomed to freedom and that it behooves us to expose them to it further.  The students provided interesting perspective on this.  Many thought that our students simply didn’t receive enough structure at home to make this work, an echo of the argument I hear from most teachers.  A few, however, agreed that raising the expectations would be a good idea, but that we would need to create a more “serious” atmosphere to make it work.
            Students felt that, although they benefit from it, our teachers “care too much,” meaning that they feel coddled.  They related stories of endless extensions, and our school’s new policy that 50% is the minimum score (which has been very controversial among teachers, but was intended to not make students fall so far behind that they stop trying).  Many of the students agreed that our students misbehaved because the teachers expected them to do so, but felt that additional freedom would fall flat if not coupled with raised academic expectations. 
I found it surprising that the students seemed to think that teacher investment, something so prized by the charter school movement, was actually leading to lowered expectations.  “It’s nice that teachers care, you know?” said one student, “But sometimes you just need to let us fail so we get the message.  In middle school, my teacher barely paid attention to us.  Some kids would go out in the hallway and push chairs around and he wouldn’t even care.  But I did care, so I had to learn.”
Of course, I believe in a middle ground; I think it’s possible for teachers to create an environment that is supportive and serious.  But these students made it clear that we had failed to do that up to now.
Finally, the conversation turned to race and culture.  My students were desperate to hear my own first impressions of the community – “It’s okay if you’re racist!” one said.  “We just want to know what other people think of us.”
I answered truthfully about some of my own biases: that entering a community with billboard ads in Spanish had been jarring for me, and made me question whether members of this community wanted to learn English; I also explained that, because I considered myself anti-racist but needed to explain low achievement in urban schools, I sometimes wondered whether parents pushed their children to succeed sufficiently (essentially the “culture of poverty” argument).  I made it clear that I didn’t believe this anymore, so it was amusing when one student said that he agreed about his parents being too lax; most, however, said that they felt their parents did care, but didn’t know exactly what to do (the position I currently take).
The students who had been admitted to college seemed genuinely terrified of the “culture shock” that awaited them by plunging into an all-white community, and wanted to know how they would be treated in college.  One girl, who had gone to an admitted student program, lamented that, although she had tried hard to distance herself from ghetto stereotypes, found her white peers calling on her to teach them the “Soulja Boy” dance and begging her to speak to them in Spanish – “I didn’t know what they wanted me to do!  Should I be more Mexican, or less Mexican?”  She said she felt dumb when she had to take out a dictionary just to understand words in the admissions director’s speech!
I’ve said it before -- while we focus on getting our kids into college, we are terrible at keeping them there.  I still believe that the experience of freedom can be shocking, but perhaps not as jarring as adjustment to college culture.  The student who I’ve quoted repeatedly in this post -- a very bright, talkative young woman – said she struggled to be herself around her peers and was embarrassed of her vocabulary – not just because she was worried others might think she were stupid, but because she wondered whether she might really be stupid.
I tried to allay her fears by telling her that, by getting into a top college, she had overcome tremendous odds.  Students from advantaged backgrounds are exactly that: their margin of error is so much wider.  If a student from a rich family has busy parents, they can expect to be picked up by a nanny; if a student from a poor family has busy parents, they are likely to end up out in the streets, getting into trouble.  If a student from a rich family is caught using drugs, they’ll attend expensive rehab; if a poor student does the same, they’ll be expelled or put into the criminal justice system.
While it sounds strange, I wonder if students would benefit from learning about the culture of typical colleges, in the same way that a person entering a study-abroad program is usually required to take a short course on the local customs.  The student highlighted in this post joked about reading Harry Potter in order to fit in; should schools take on the responsibility of teaching our students the things that rich, white kids learn at home, and from their peers?  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another Brick in the Wall Part 2: Recommended Reading

Thanks to the aforementioned preschool teacher; this article expresses the arguments against standards-based teaching far better than I could.

What it leaves out is how a similar, although arguably less heinous arms race, affects privileged students.  While poor students in particular are denied critical thinking skills, nearly all students these days seem to be lacking preparation for autonomy.  Is it any wonder mine is called the "boomerang generation"?

While I hate discussing the economy, the job market's general suckitude certainly plays a role in the post-college uncertainty so many of my peers seem to face.  Of my friends, those who have steady jobs are mostly enrolled in programs designed as a "next step" for competitive résumé-builders (e.g. consulting, masters' degrees, and, yes, TFA).  Are we trapped in the hamster wheel -- precluding ourselves from real self-discovery, risk-taking, and entrepreneurship -- or just savvier than those who came before?

Then again, am I committing the sin of claiming that certain phenomena are unique to my generation when they totally aren't (after all, isn't The Graduate about this same type of post-collegiate confusion?  Doesn't this blog provide an example of someone finding himself within the structured confines of TFA?).  Have I diagnosed the wrong cause entirely for my generation's ills?  Hell, are there no ills at all?

Your thoughts, please.

Another Brick in the Wall

            Reformers of a liberal bent sometimes refer to the “school-to-prison pipeline”; the idea that students are prepared for institutionalization during their education.  As Pink Floyd explained in their critique of the school system, more education doesn’t always lead to better life outcomes.  So is it true?

I see your point, Pink Floyd, but when I leave them alone they draw phalluses on the walls.

            On first look, my school does share some characteristics with a prison, especially compared to the high school I attended.  My high school (as in, the one where I was a student) had an open campus; nearly all of junior and senior year consisted of electives that sounded like college classes (e.g. “Virginia Woolf,” “Russian History”); the dress code didn’t explicitly mandate the wearing of shoes and pants; and I can’t remember a teacher ever using a consequence besides asking a chatty student to move seats, or, on the other end of the spectrum, expulsion (detention was never used). 
            My current school is almost the polar opposite.  Students are not allowed to come and go as they please, detention is meted out daily, a uniform is required, and students graduate without having chosen a single class for themselves (which makes the use of the word “electives” a bit puzzling).
            Worst is that the students make a strong case against being granted further freedom.  If you fail to confiscate a student’s Sharpie pen, he will most likely use it to write on your walls while your back is turned (or, once, right as I was looking at him.  I suspended the student, not out of spite exactly, more because come on, really?).  Once I decided to give my advisory students some free time by taking them to the basketball court and giving them sports equipment to play with; I turned my back on a group of them for five minutes and they kicked a hole through the side of a metal shed.  And every day, the students complain about being bored during the 30 minutes they have to relax during lunch – the longest unstructured block of time they have for the entire day.
            Teachers at my school complain about having to serve as stand-ins for parents (and given that many of them really are parents, this doesn’t sound like a glowing endorsement of reproduction).  Implicit in the daily lunchroom kvetching is this idea: structure at school makes up for a lack at home.  It’s not an indictment of poor students and poor families, but (and my own experience makes this idea tempting) rich kids can be let off campus without breaking windows and can be trusted to be released from the classroom early and not write their names on the furniture.
            You don’t need a book about tiger mothering to realize that most wealthy students receive more structure at home than poor students.  While I think that my own upbringing struck an appropriate balance between work and play, this seems to be a rarity in an age when “getting into a good college” has turned into “getting into a good kindergarten.”
Recently I spoke with a preschool teacher who caters primarily to the munchkins of the very wealthy.  I realized, in speaking to her, that contrary to my own experience, most wealthy youngsters seem to receive structure aplenty, but, in a different way than my students, very little experience of freedom.  The parents of underprivileged kids, contrary to popular myth, do believe in the importance of education; they just aren’t always sure of how exactly to get their kids into top colleges.  Most wealthy parents, it turns out, know this all too well; my friend in the Stanford admissions office informed me that she had to take a call from a mother who wanted to know what instrument her six-year-old son should learn in order to maximize his chance of being accepted – and this level of absurdity in parent questions is more the rule than the exception.
My students endure a strictly regimented day, only to be released at 4 PM to get into trouble in the streets.  Their more privileged counterparts may attend schools that respect their autonomy (may being the operative word), but then they attend an endless cavalcade of swim lessons, piano recitals, and other activities guaranteed to ensure their admission at a good kindergarten so they can get into a good grade school etc. etc. until they get into a good college and… then what?
High-performing schools for underprivileged kids are notoriously bad at keeping those kids in college.  Wealthy kids who attend the best private schools are struggling with mental illness at an alarming rate (and in my non-professional opinion, one not completely explained by better diagnosis) because, as it turns out, life isn’t a video game in which acceptance to an elite college is the final boss (as it were).*

An elite college.

Kids need structure; they crave it, and they respond well to it.  Kids also need experience confronting freedom and ambiguity, because these latter are what grown-up life is about, and confidence in the face of these great unknowns is something we should foster if we are serious about moving toward an economy of entrepreneurs and inventors.
My parents were not of the helicopter persuasion, and my schooling prepared me for autonomy and choice; still, I find the task of charting my course to be somewhat dizzying.  I can only imagine how much harder it must be for my own students -- and for all students.

*Forgive the rhetorical flourish.  In my still-non-professional opinion, this is just one of many factors contributing to mental illness.  Still, I can't help but believe that our educational system’s single-minded focus on college-going, and the poodle-like hoop-jumping that accompanies this, creates students that are ill-equipped to deal with the challenges of peri- and post-college life.  My decision to do TFA, for example, was jarring partly because it was the first major decision I made that wasn’t ordained since my birth (i.e., the first decision that was typical rather than categorical.  “Which college should I go to?” is a very different question than “Of the many possible things I could do with my life now, which is the one most consistent with my goals?”).

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cultural Differences

One belief I just don't share with my students.

Teach For America training heavily emphasizes the "diversity competencies," a set of skills designed to help corps members think pluralistically and demonstrate tolerance towards others, no matter what your students say.

A couple of conversations from my classroom yesterday:

Student A: Hey [Mr. N], did your parents ever put you on time out?
Mr. N: Yeah, sure.  Why?
SA: [giggling] Ohmygawd.  No way.  I was watching this show [something to do with nannies; couldn't quite catch it] with my mom, and she thought it was just so weird when they put the kids on time out!  I can't believe people really do that!
Mr. N: Why, what do your parents do?
SA: Hit me, duh!
Student B: Yeah, my parents hit me all the time!
Mr. N: Funny thing about white people, we're not so into the hitting.
SB: That's so weird!  So time-outs actually work?

Student C: Hey [Mr. N], did you ever play with a Ouija board?
Mr. N: Yeah, once or twice as a kid.
Student C: Do you believe in them?
Mr. N: I believe they exist.  I believe they can tell the future about as well as any two people's hands pushing against each other can tell the future.
Student C: Is that really all it is?
Student D: You shouldn't play with those!  The devil will get you!
Student C: Yeah I know.  My dad won't let me play with one because he did once, and then bad stuff started happening.

Turns out items sold at flea markets are to be avoided as well; they're often bewitched.

While new teachers often feel the urge to try to "blend in" in the community in which they serve, there's really no point; they can tell you are white/rich/educated/etc, and students can smell B.S. a mile away.  Mine have come to see me, I think, as a quaint kind of creature that uses overly formal speech patterns, can't pronounce local place names to save his life, and hasn't heard of anything cool; a visitor from another world (often erroneously assumed to be Texas or Europe, as any real Californian would have a Mexican accent).

Who can blame them?  The only white people from wealthy backgrounds they meet are other teachers -- we just seem like a foreign breed.

"So you're white -- just white?" one will ask from time to time.
"And your parents -- they had money?"
"And you went to college?"
"So... why are you here?"

Nothing ever seems to satisfy this last question -- maybe in part because my own answer changes from day to day.  But most days (the ones when I don't feel the overwhelming urge to correct every "can I go restroom?" I hear), I'm happy to have crash-landed on this strange planet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sweet Freedom!


Today I announced to my class that it would be the last day of review of the entire year.  To be using the word "last" with respect to anything related to my first year of teaching sounds almost indescribably strange -- sometimes I found it difficult not to wonder if it would ever end.

The class erupted in a chorus of "ah-WOO! Ah-WOO!" a la 300.  For the past two weeks we have started every day with an inspirational movie scene (think the "protect your dream" speech in the Pursuit of Happyness, or the training montage from Rocky that led to my "other people think you're dumb" speech; none have caught on to the same extent as the Spartan battle chant).  Today's clip found Mel Gibson as William Wallace bellowing about freedom, and, folks, I can relate.

He's the easiest person to take seriously.

The California State Test -- the culmination of my year of teaching -- is on Monday.  After that, I get 5 glorious weeks of teaching whatever I want.  Free at last.

So, because my chief complaint about the biology standards is their unnecessary focus on minutiae, our final unit will be "The Biology of You."  Nutrition (since my students think that Hot Cheetos is a food group), sleep (because my students think that video games are an appropriate substitute), sex (because my students think that standing up is a form of contraception), and finally, bioethics and bioengineering (with a discussion of my favorite topic of all -- resurrection of the dinosaurs).  For their final project, students will have to perform a science project on themselves; e.g. "does caffeine help me do better in school?" or "will writing down all my negative thoughts make me feel better or worse?"  Oh, and thanks to the generous folks at DonorsChoose, we're going to dissect sheep brains.

I started teaching because I wanted to make science relevant to my students, and, as I reflected about in my post about standardized testing and data abuse, to show them that science is a process that anyone can practice, not a collection of vocabulary and facts.  That is nigh impossible in a standards-based classroom.  I also swore that I wouldn't neglect my top students, which is hard to do when a good teacher is defined as one who brings a "C" student up to a "B."

But for one glorious month, I can be exactly the teacher I want to be.  Ah-WOO!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In Which Mr. N Realizes That, Much Like He Does, His Students Like Talking About Themselves

If you're a writing teacher, go buy your kids journals.  Don't waste any more time.

As I've mentioned in the past, I'm a reluctant writing teacher.  Biology is my forte, and while I enjoy writing, I haven't received any formal training past one required writing class in college.  Becoming a remedial writing teacher has been rough; in my third week of school, my assistant principal had to come co-teach the class with me until I got the students' behavior under control.  While I haven't had any riots lately (especially not since I became the advanced 9th grade writing teacher at the beginning of this semester), Writing Lab often feels like a distraction from what I really enjoy teaching.

My original conception for Advanced Writing Lab was a project-based class, in which students would propose a project (based on a teacher-given theme) every two weeks, execute it, and defend it against their proposal.  About half the class stunned me with their creativity and drive; for the "Mental Disorders" project, for example, students turned in projects ranging from a 10-minute film about a guilt-ridden soldier, a 9-page semi-fictional account of a man who leaves his fiancee during their Paris honeymoon to pursue the Eiffel Tower, and a comic book about an ADHD-afflicted superhero.  The other half of the class stunned me with their desire to slam their rolling chairs into one another at high speeds when I sat down to work with a student.

Suffice it to say that, while students initially reveled in the freedom of being able to follow their literary pursuits, not all students demonstrated the confidence, ability, or willingness to stay seated in order to pull it off.  Even among the upper-level writing students there is a huge range of abilities; many students struggled with basic grammar skills (which I am piss-poor at teaching) and couldn't comprehend my feedback about "tone" and "word choice," or my lessons about how to distinguish a reputable from a disreputable Internet source.  I don't know what to do with students who think that "mines" is a pronoun, or that the word "had" must precede every past-tense verb; this is to say, I may be a passable editor, but I am not a good English teacher.

So, this past weekend, I went to Staples and bought 26 spiral-bound notebooks, handed them to my students on Monday, and said "Write about what's on your mind.  At the end of the period, if you want me to read it, put it in this pile; if you don't want me to read it, put it in that pile."

And the words poured out, dear reader, like saliva from the mouth of a Labrador.  Suddenly students with whom I had exchanged the minimum number of words required for basic communication were telling me everything -- their relationship troubles, their Caufield-esque angst, their thoughts on what exactly should be done with haters (often, don't listen to them, or f*** them -- non-literally, I assume).

When I proposed this project to my administration (slightly after I actually started it -- shh), my assistant principal said he thought it was a fantastic idea, and asked what I hoped it would accomplish.  I answered that I hoped that it would trick them into taking pleasure from writing.

The brightest students at my school still struggle with subject-verb agreement.  This isn't because our English teachers aren't good enough; it's because they don't read.*  My students can get the right answers on a worksheet, but spectacularly wrong in an essay (a sign of their difficulty with generalizing knowledge, which is, I believe, an indicator that our standardized curricula are failing to teach kid to think; see here).  Writing can be workshopped; it can be developed; it can't, beyond the basic mechanics, be taught.

If I can trick my students into having fun in writing class, maybe I can trick them into visiting the library and bringing home a book.  And in the meantime, I have to get back to reading essays about haters (who still, after all these years, be hatin').

More on this, as it develops...

*It's also because housing segregation means that my students aren't even exposed to that much English on a daily basis outside of school.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Guest Post at "An Urban Teacher's Education"!

I recently wrote my very first guest post, featured at the awesome education blog An Urban Teacher's Education.  This post is in lieu of my usual Tuesday update.  Check out my essay on standardized testing and TFA's misuse of data.  While you're there, check out some of my favorite of Reflective Educator's posts, like this one on why inspirational teacher movies are misleading, and possibly damaging, to educators.

Again, here's the link.  Be warned: there are no pictures.