Teaching is . . .

Teaching is . . . Teaching is not easy. No matter what some in society may think. Not the commitment to every single child in the individualized way that his/her personality, skill-level, and learning style demand. Not the unlimited reservoir of patience and relationship creativity that being present to young people requires. Not the countless hours planning andContinue reading “Teaching is . . .”


Charlie “Youngster, you don’t know shit.” At one point or another, what teacher or parent hasn’t thought something like this about a teenager’s attitude? The thought consoles us in an adolescent’s particular moment of petulance. Programmed by nature, the adolescent is pinging us and, damn, sometimes we want to ping back. Remarkably, I know ofContinue reading “Charlie”

Tidal Arguments

Tidal Arguments “Write the book, will ya!” For a while now, many colleagues and friends have urged me to write a book. You know this type of book. Narratives about my experience as a teacher of so many young people in such vastly different urban contexts: secondary public (charter, magnet, and test-based selective enrollment), Catholic, andContinue reading “Tidal Arguments”

A Pirate

A Pirate Teachers are always stealing. Teachers steal one another’s ideas, strategies, projects — sometimes even elements of one another’s persona, the public image a teacher projects within the classroom and building. Whatever helps the good teacher become a better one. Maybe it’s a well-kept trade secret, but within the world of teaching, thievery isContinue reading “A Pirate”

Antonio and Annie, meet Alfie

Antonio and Annie, meet Alfie Welcoming students as they enter the classroom is a great joy of teaching. So many present and past colleagues and I enjoy this ritual. The welcome is a small, sacred beginning to the daily process of learning. To my way of thinking, light humor and warmth prevail; to my students’ waysContinue reading “Antonio and Annie, meet Alfie”

Humans in Every Corner

Humans in Every Corner “Allah has punished the Jews. They deserved this…” A quiet boy, no more than fourteen. The walls peel inward as classmates eyeball the boy, in the corner, and me, in the front. Dry October leaves pile in the corners of the school’s courtyard. Our reading of Elie Wiesel’s Night is complete andContinue reading “Humans in Every Corner”

Instruction is . . .

Instruction is . . . Formal Education is Three Things: Curriculum. Instruction. Assessment. Always, those three components exist within ever-shifting political, social, and economic contexts. And — whew — those contexts have multiple layers which are often in conflict with one another: the classroom, the academic subject, the school, the community, the city/town, the state, American society… Every school day, eachContinue reading “Instruction is . . .”

Schools are…

Schools are . . . Make No Mistake: Schools are Accountable to Their Stakeholders for the Quality of the Learning. To the learners and their futures. To their parents/guardians. To the communities and cities within which those families live. To taxpayers. To our society’s future; Accountability is a Mutual Contract. The contract between a society and its schoolsContinue reading “Schools are…”