Jill Hare of TheApple.com wrote a nice thank-you to all underappreciated teachers of the world. Here’s the link. Read it today or wait for a day when a student tells you how ridiculous you look in those pants.
Category Archives: Uncategorized
In response to the outdated state of the average American classroom, Slate Magazine recently solicited reader suggestions for transforming American schools. Go to their site to see what readers had to say about a model classroom for the 21st century.
We hope you will leave your own suggestions/critiques as comments below.
Rethinking Schools, the progressive ed magazine out of Milwaukee, has been pretty active in the anti-Waiting for Superman movement. Here’s a link to their website, NOTwaitingforsuperman.org, which is basically a collection of articles critiquing the film and the policies espoused therein. Good, smart stuff. Check it out.
Instead of putting a smart screen in every classroom, why not give every student one of these?
by ALISTAIR BOMPHRAY
Just wanted to pass on some congratulations to fellow education blogger, Rebecca Branstetter of Notes from the School Psychologist, who, after two long years, published her book, “The Teachable Moment: Seizing the Instants When Students Learn.” It’s an anthology of different educators reflecting on their teaching experiences, and though I haven’t read it yet, my mom says it’s pretty great.
I should also thank Rebecca for including one of my own pieces despite repeated references to PCP (of all things) and a higher curse word per page ratio than is generally considered kosher for an ed book.
So, teachers, if you’re looking for some inspirational reading this summer (that’s not Nicholas Sparks’ latest gutwrencher), may I suggest “The Teachable Moment”? Here’s Rebecca’s more comprehensive synopsis.
And speaking of summer, ain’t slow mornings with the paper grand?
by ALISTAIR BOMPHRAY
Teacher, Revised is officially all growed up. Well, not really, but we did make it a whole year without becoming complete computer nerds or getting our tires slashed by vengeful homeschoolers (that’s an inside joke for those of you who have been with us for awhile—let’s just say we learned our lesson).
A BIG thank-you goes to all of our writers and readers who continue to enrich this blog with their thoughts and experiences.
To commemorate the occasion, here are the top ten posts of our inaugural journey through cyberspace (based purely on number of clicks). We would be eternally grateful if you would take a moment to email this post all to of your teacher friends. ‘Cause, you know, it’s our party and we’ll cry if we want to (i.e. if no one comes).
1. Teaching With Depression: Is There Any Way Out? by JESSE SCACCIA
2. School Discipline: Is it ever ok to physically restrain a student? by GEHRY OATEY
3. Standardized Tests: Inadvertently Or Not, They Are Racist by JESSE SCACCIA
4. What Students Want: “You give respect to get respect” (video) by ALISTAIR BOMPHRAY
6. The Unabashedly Strict Teacher: The real discipline problem lies with the parents by VERONICA O’BRIEN
7. Teaching and Learning: Grammar Lost in the Shuffle by GABRIELLE LENSCH PLASTRIK
8. Reflections on Urban School Teaching: Learning Discipline by JILL GUERRA
9. Reflections on Urban School Teaching: Whataya Wanna Be When You Grow Up? by JILL GUERRA
10. The Schoolyard Foodie: Why our kids are fighting over fruit by GEHRY OATEY
We recently got a nice shout-out from the popular Oakland blog, A Better Oakland. They said, “(Teacher, Revised’s) reflections on their classroom experiences and the education system are sometimes maddening, frequently heartwarming, and always a refreshing reminder of what wonderful, caring people we have out there trying to take care of Oakland’s kids.”
Always good to know we’ve got a few friends out there on the oh so cold and lonesome information superhighway.
by JESSE SCACCIA
It’s the end of the term, and things are crazy busy for us all, so this will be a shorter post.
I’ve been going through a rough time lately, both personally and with my writing. One of my former students who I keep in touch with–who is now also a teacher–caught wind of this, and sent me this note that helped get me back on track. The last few sentences are like a poem. Great stuff. Here goes:
The important part of writing is not about the words you use. Almost as if to say it is about the meaning behind those words you use. Good writing is coming from the heart.
Isn’t that what you taught me to do? Coming from the heart? In one of your lectures?
I guess sometimes we (you and I) forget what we’ve learned…
So, we need to teach people what we know.
So, they will remind us someday when we are lost and don’t remember it.
by JESSE SCACCIA
This week my class and I have been talking Vonnegut. My unit plan had called for lessons about letter writing, but for some reason recently I had mentioned Vonnegut in passing. I waited for some sort of response or sign of recognition. Nothing.
“Have you people heard of Kurt Vonnegut?”
Blank stares. Slow shaking of heads. The sound of my soul jumping out of my body, running to the bathroom, and screaming as loud as it could from inside the farthest stall.
“Even though I am having a personal crisis right now,” I said. “I am going to pretend I’m not because I love you. But this is something we have to fix. You have to know who Kurt Vonnegut is.”
Just like that my lesson plans and unit plans went out the window. That night I searched my bookshelf and the Internet for some Vonnegut selections to share. Talk about a pleasure. It was like walking through Paris trying to find your favorite place to sit and enjoy the view.
Re-visiting all that Vonnegut took me back to high school, what feels already like 10 zillion years ago, back when we actually didn’t have cell phones. Rather than text message in class to pass the time we were forced to hold the textbooks up in just such a way as to hide the paperback novels we were reading.
[Sidenote: How Leave it to Beaver does that sound, eh? But it's true!]
Anyway, Vonnegut was a favorite of my buddies and mine. Slaughterhouse. Cat’s Cradle. Time Quake. Breakfast of Champions. That was our Farmville, or whatever the hell my students are doing on their cell phones the moment I turn my back on them.
Something magical happened looking back through all that Vonnegut in search of what to give to my class. Something so magical I’m going to put a useless swear in the next sentence for emphasis: I feel back in fucking love with him. He inspired me. He angered me. He made me think. He made me–another useless swear warning–want to teach the shit out of him to my students the next day.
by JESSE SCACCIA
I was reading my local paper today when I came across an interesting article. Currently schools in Virginia Beach, Virginia only give solid letter grades. The discussion involves adding in the ‘plus’ as an option. The net result will be an upward shift in grade point averages.
You might be thinking, Why does this matter to me as a teacher? It’s significant for two important reasons:
1. This will raise the average grade point average in VB schools, just with a simple shift in policy. Will the students learn more? Of course not. But they’ll have a better chance of getting into the most competitive universities, and if we can help our kids get into college–no matter how–we need to be involved in making it happen.
2. If more students in your school are going to college, and if the higher level students are going to better schools than they otherwise would have, the overall educational environment improves. For the lower achieving students, the prospect of going to college becomes just a little more real. Think about the three or four most disengaged students in your classes… now imagine if those students saw college as a real possibility. They’d try a little harder, don’t you think?
Public school teachers have far more important things to worry about than issues like this, but it’s imperative that at least some of us do. So much of a teachers’ day is dictated from above. If we’re not poking around ‘up there’ and giving our two cents it is us, our schools, and our students who suffer.