This is the day we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. here in the United States, so it seems an appropriate time for me to get back to my racism series. I taught at a new high school in Year Five of my 23-year high school teaching career. This school was a consolidation of two … Continue reading Considering My Own Racism: The biggest lesson I learned from some of my high school students
Just what does a new school year mean for teachers?
If you're not a student or teacher, this time of year might mean extra muggy and hot days and the hope of cooler weather in a month or so. It might mean another month for beach vacations and swim parties and grilling outside. But if you're a student or teacher around here, early August has come … Continue reading Just what does a new school year mean for teachers?
My Middle School Experiment: What I Learned, Part 2. Less ego, more patience.
As I said in earlier posts, I'm sure I learned more during my semester of teaching middle school than my students did. And a lot - probably most - of what I learned was about myself. In this post, I'll share one of the "good" things I learned. I learned that I am a great deal more … Continue reading My Middle School Experiment: What I Learned, Part 2. Less ego, more patience.
My Middle School Experiment: What I learned, Part 1
It was a month ago that I completed my semester of teaching middle school. This was a semester - 90 days - of experiment. An experiment to find out what teaching middle school is like, what middle schoolers themselves are like, what it's like to teach in a high-poverty middle school, what it's like to … Continue reading My Middle School Experiment: What I learned, Part 1
The Just-Right Trip: Healing the energy of 90 days of teaching in a high-poverty middle school
Though it was right on the heels of a difficult 90 days and the teacher in-service days that followed, my trip to what I call "out West" was just what I needed. Maybe it's because it was right on the heels of this challenging time that it was just right. When I left the house on … Continue reading The Just-Right Trip: Healing the energy of 90 days of teaching in a high-poverty middle school
Teaching Middle School, Week 18: The finale
The much-anticipated Day 90 of my semester-long experiment of teaching a careers class in a local middle school came on Friday. That day was the last one of the semester. I thought I'd feel many emotions: joy, exhilaration, pride - and most of all, relief. But, honestly, I don't feel much of anything. Except tiredness. Perhaps … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 18: The finale
Teaching Middle School, Week 17: “Because we’re bad”
Two comments to me at school this past week have stuck with me. Both were from 6th grade students. The first occurred while three of my students were working on their project for the end of the year. They were talking, and one said he had signed up for careers (the class I teach) next … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 17: “Because we’re bad”
Teaching Middle School, Week 16: What I find most wearing and wearying
The main feeling I've had through these 16 weeks of teaching middle school is exhaustion. Being in the classroom every weekday makes me tired. Tired, tired, tired. And more tired. That's what I felt at the end of my high school teaching career 8 years ago. And it's what I feel now. If you've never taught … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 16: What I find most wearing and wearying
Teaching Middle School, Week 15: My decision
We're down to 15 classroom days before school is out for the summer. Then my time in middle school will be over. I began this middle school teaching journey as an experiment. An experiment with these questions: What are middle school kids like? What are the challenges of a high-poverty school in this decade? How do … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 15: My decision
Teaching Middle School, Week 14: Testing completed & pondering “fairness”
Two days - one of science, one of social studies - finished us up. Those days were a lot easier than the days of testing the week before. The testing periods (2 each day) were from 45 minutes to 1 hour - about half the time of the ELA (English/Language Arts) and math tests the week … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 14: Testing completed & pondering “fairness”