Measurement in capitalism is pretty easy: It’s profit. You can tell how effective something is by how much money it makes. Education is actually just this easy. What we should measure, the only thing we should care about, the only discussion we should have, the only thing we should fund, the absolute bottom line is:… Read More »The Bottom Line in Education: Real Student Learning
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
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with 8 New York State Assembly members and Senators in separate meetings at the state capitol. These meetings were arranged by the United University Professions (the SUNY Union), and we met in teams of 4-6 to advocate for specific legislative and budget proposals that would benefit SUNY,… Read More »Advocating for Education: Meeting with Legislators
Tonight is the first session of a new class I’m teaching. At this stage in my career, I’ve been in this situation over 100 times. Here’s a confession: I am still nervous. I’m not afraid anymore. I am confident things will go well enough. But I am nervous about making sure I do my job well, that… Read More »The Value of Nervousness
Cherished colleagues of mine recently gave me the greeting card above. I have too much to say about grammar in general to write in a single post, so I’ll just write a quick one here to make a point. I LOVE this card. I think it’s funny, and I love that grammar is personified and is… Read More »When We Use Grammar
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?
In some areas of the country, teachers are not paid well enough to make as good a living as they should. They are not who I’m talking about here. How Teacher Salaries Work Now High school teachers and many middle school teachers are generally paid to teach a 5-course load, meaning they teach 5 classes… Read More »Should We Re-Structure Teacher Salaries?
I was very lucky as a new teacher in September of 1988 at Columbia High School in East Greenbush, NY (a suburb of Albany). NYSUT had recently negotiated money from the New York State Education Department for each school district to develop mentoring programs. East Greenbush, under the leadership of Assistant Superintendent Arnold Kaye (if… Read More »The Luckiest First Year of Teaching!
Something that has troubled me for years in the field of education is the way in which new teachers are often treated. A loyal member of the profession, I don’t like pointing out issues with my colleagues; but this is something that has irked me for a long time and should stop. Bluntly put: The… Read More »A Dirty, Little Secret in K-12 Education