Teacher, Revised is for teachers and by teachers. It is an education grab bag of classroom reflection, a compilation of news that matters to teachers, essays, interviews with the brightest minds in pedagogy, and even the occasional book and movie review. Basically, it deals with anything that affects teachers, could make teachers’ lives better, or that we all should be very, very afraid of.
But it’s also more than that. As teachers, we are in a state of perpetual revision. We revise our lesson plans, our classroom management strategies, our seating charts, and our teaching philosophy. The ability to do this with sincerity and courage—often in the moment—is essential to a teacher’s shelf life. Without that, we “go bad.” Undoubtedly you are familiar with the stench of teachers who have reached their expiration date. It ain’t pretty. To avoid this, we must make a life partner of revision. It is the natural preservative that keeps us fresh. This means looking inward and outward—reflecting on our own practice, and keeping an ear to the ground for what’s new (or old) in the world of education.
The springboard for this blog was a book project that the authors embarked on a year and a half ago—a kind of survival guide for new teachers titled Teacher, Revised: A Generation Y Guide To The World’s Most Important Profession. We will be publishing excerpts from the book here, but mostly this blog will be a place for us to pontificate, propose, and ponder in a less rigid format. Anything ed-related is fair game.
We hope you gain some insight into your own practice by reading a little about ours.
Alistair Bomphray is a former New York City Teaching Fellow who is currently an English teacher and journalism advisor at Tennyson High School in Hayward, California. He also taught in Washington Heights, NY, and at the University of Michigan’s New England Literature Program. He holds dual undergraduate degrees in English and Film from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in secondary English education from City College of New York. Alistair is co-founder of the non-profit One Picture Puzzle Piece, which focuses on telling local stories from Oakland with words and pictures. He has the lowest winning percentage of any girl’s tennis coach in the history of California.
Jesse Scaccia has taught high school-aged students in Brooklyn, San Diego, and Cape Town, South Africa, where he currenty teaches at a home for young men. His journalism has been published by The New York Times, The San Diego Union Tribune, The International Herald Tribune, and The Virginian-Pilot. He co-executive produced a documentary series for BET about post-Katrina life for the band and football team at an HBCU in Louisiana. He holds dual degrees in English and education from the University of Connecticut, a master’s in education from Connecticut, and a master’s in journalism from New York University. He is currently the Perry Morgan Fellow in the MFA program at Old University Dominion in Norfolk, Virginia.
Benjie Achtenberg teaches 8th grade Humanities at Melrose Leadership Academy in Oakland, CA. As an avid SF Giants fan and self-proclaimed history dork, he faces many uphill battles in his Oakland classroom, but loves every moment. Teaching is a new adventure everyday for him. While he brings to life Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal, Evidence Sandwiches, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and literary analysis thesis statements, he laughs with his kids and strives to find the best in all of them. He regularly enjoys beating his students in touch football after school with his fellow teachers.
Jennifer Yael Green is currently an English teacher in Pusan, South Korea, where she teaches over-stressed, sleep-deprived and academically brilliant students. She has taught English to underprivileged kids in Buenos Aires, and worked with a non-profit arts program for 3rd and 4th graders in Rancho Mirage, California. She graduated with honors from the University of Washington with a degree in Creative Writing.
Jill Guerra is proud to be a Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in an Oakland public elementary school. The students she works with are some of the strongest people on the planet and they teach her about the most important things in life: humility, resilience, forgiveness, and that it’s important to laugh often. Her other job is as the mother of a very vocal and passionate daughter and of a calm and breezy son. Her undergraduate work was done at U.C. Berkeley and she recently finished her master’s degree in Teaching Critical Environmental and Global Literacy at New College of California. She likes to spend her time dancing Cuban rueda and Afro-Brazilian samba, sipping Chai tea while walking through the flea market, and swapping frontline stories over Thai food with her comrades.
Gabrielle Lensch Plastrik currently teaches 7th and 8th grade English and Drama and k-2 computers at EAGLE School, an independent (private) school for students k-8 who are “talented and gifted” in Madison, WI. She previously taught high school in Janesville, WI and in the suburbs of Chicago. She earned a BA in English with a sub-concentration in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan and an MSEd from Northwestern University. She is reminded every day how wonderful it is to work with students who have naturally inquisitive brains. It makes the study of literature and writing all the more fun.
Gehry Oatey the Schoolyard Foodie teaches at Melrose Leadership Academy in east Oakland. He spends his weekday afternoons turning over the soil in the school garden and cooking with 7th and 8th graders. He is also a member of community groups working to improve school lunches in Oakland. There isn’t a day at school where middle school kids don’t remind him how little he knows about this life. He has also heard more shocking curse words in the past three years than most humans walking the earth. He is a food lover and one of the few white boy salsa dancers living in Oakland. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veronica O’Brien is the owner of VM Education, Ltd, an educational consulting and tutoring business. She has served the tri-state area’s (NY/NJ/CT) private and public school student needs since 1998. Veronica earned her Baccalaureate degree in Biology, Chemistry and Anthropology with a specialization on Biological Evolution, cum laude. In 2008, she was accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellowship to teach high school science in the Bronx, NY.
Mose Williams teaches 6th grade math/science blocks in east Oakland. Today he attempted to convey the grandeur of pi, broke up a fight, and started a project with bathymetric maps. Last year he taught 8th grade humanities and now remembers that year fondly because of the fun books he read with his students. Mose has seen some beautiful places and met some amazing people.
Chris Bacon teaches English and facilitates teacher training in Busan, South Korea—where young people study 12 hours a day and sleep far less than that. Before Korea, Chris worked with the U.S. Peace Corps as a Youth Development Volunteer in Morocco and has also taught English in The Czech Republic (Prague) Additionally, Chris is co-director of a non-profit called, “The Thambo Project” that promotes social justice through the performing arts, and he enjoys singing/songwriting in his spare time with his acoustic guitar. His bachelor’s degrees in Theatre and World Religions were awarded by Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter Minnesota, and he can be reached.