As a teacher, your job is extremely clear. There is a bottom line. It’s student learning. Period. That’s it, that’s all, and there ain’t no more. However, as every decent teacher knows, there’s a hell of a lot to student learning. It’s vaster and far more complicated than most people other than good teachers know.… Read More »Bored Students are the Teacher’s Responsibility: What Can You Do About It?
When I was a student teacher, way back before the Internet and just after TV Dinners moved from 40 minutes in the oven to 4 minutes in the microwave–really! Where did we find the time?!–I learned a few lessons from some veteran teachers that I had to unlearn later. One teacher in particular, a crusty… Read More »“Students Have a Right To Fail” and Other Stupid Lessons I Had to Unlearn
Every teacher has been there. You are trying to get your lesson done. You might even be leading up to something that most of the students will enjoy, but you have that one student who will not allow you to teach. They have influence over the other students, they distract you, and they are able… Read More »3 Things to Know If You Have A Student Who Keeps Acting Out In Class, Refusing To Do Work?
Like many other teachers, my classes switched from in-person, face-to-face classes to remote classes via Zoom in mid-March 2020. My classes during this current semester were held entirely remotely. I am very fortunate to teach at a University where our new president (not our old one) allowed faculty to choose whether or not they taught… Read More »3 Classroom Policies I Changed During the Pandemic–That Helped!
Students, particularly young students, will often praise the teachers they like as “nice.” In my career, I have often been called “nice,” but I’m not sure it was always accurate. And, more often–when I was actually being nice–I wasn’t always considered nice. Especially not at the time. So what does it mean to be a… Read More »Are You a Nice Teacher? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
If you’re like me, you let stacks of student papers sit for a while before you can bring yourself to respond to them. Once I get into reading and responding to them, it goes well, but there’s just something about diving into the first paper on the stack that is tremendously foreboding. There have been… Read More »The Rubric Criterion That Changed Everything
In my last post, I wrote about the futility of trying to be objective when grading student writing. The point I make is that teachers must bring their professional judgments to bear on writing as they grade it. Teachers must be completely, intentionally, and unapologetically subjective in their responses to student writing. But with that… Read More »The Importance of Being Humble When Grading
“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’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