“You’ve been late to class several times recently. Are you OK? “You seem to be in a really bad mood today. Are you OK?” “Your score on that exam isn’t showing how smart you really are. Are you OK?” “Your behavior in class today was really poor. Are you OK?” When I have a problem… Read More »“Are You OK?”: Caring for the Whole Student
The massacre in Orlando has spurred many complicated thoughts for me and for everyone I know. It’s a time of sadness, anger, unity, energy. It can feel overwhelming. Can you imagine what it’s like for school-age children and adolescents? A former student asked me recently, what goes through a teacher’s mind in a situation like… Read More »Teaching After Tragedy
I have conflicting views on two aspects of what I’ll call “Teacher Citizenship.” I have one view on blackboards. I have a conflicting view on desks. I’ll see if by the end of this post I’ve worked that conflict out, but I doubt it. Erase the Blackboard When You’re Done, Please I teach at a university.… Read More »Boards and Desks: Two Views on Classroom Maintenance
I’ve been teaching the first-semester course in a teacher education program since 2003. This is the very first course that students take after they’ve been admitted to the teacher education program. On the first evening of class, I always ask the students to work in groups to answer the following questions: What are you most… Read More »Parents: Allies, Not Enemies
I’ve been hearing in general and reading, mostly on Facebook, a lot of complaints lately about young people. The usual rants. You know: lazy, entitled, bad manners, bad grammar, and on and on. I fight these attitudes when I have the time (and the patience), but it has also reminded me of how important “liking… Read More »Do Teachers Like Their Students? This One Does
One of the most important things a teacher can do is use the names of his or her students. Using a student’s name evokes such power, it’s almost mystical. It’s an incantation, and enchantment. There’s a reason why some demons in ancient stories lose their power if you learn their names, or why if you say… Read More »The Magic of Using Students’ Names
Recently I read a Tweet about the topic in the titular question of this post. It engendered a spirited but short lived flurry of posts. I’d like to spend a few more minutes reflecting on the topic here. Authentic Learning & Teaching As an educator, I try to base my decisions on a principle of authenticity.… Read More »Should Students’ Grades Be Lowered for Lateness?