Building Relationships

The Invisible People in Your School


Right now, there are invisible people in your school. No, not some sort of ghosts like those who haunt people in books and movies; in your school are studentswho are “invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see” them for who they are (not unlike the unnamed narrator in Ralph Ellison’sInvisible Manwho’s self-description is quoted […]

We Can Do It!


As educators, we know what works in classrooms. There have been thousands of studies around effective leadership, school improvement and raising student achievement. In schools that have high academic optimism, there is a concerted belief that “Learning and student success is our priority” (academic press), a palpable teacher attitude that “We believe in our students” […]

Every Dream Begins with a Dreamer


So I’m sitting down going through Twitter edfeed on a particular evening last fall. “Twitter is a great PD tool.” My Principal had encouraged its use among staff and preached its worth from day one. As any new teacher, in a brand new district – you are inclined to give things a shot. A new […]

The Reflective Teacher


If you can, you do. If you can’t, you teach. I’ve heard this before. I’ve heard it at dinner parties when friends of mine insinuate that my ‘vacations’ are nothing more than leisure time spent relaxing and that my job is nothing more than a glorified babysitter. I’ve sat through their hallow praise of how […]

How to Say “No” Tactfully to Your Students


If you are like most teachers, you spend your school days being bombarded by a relentless stream of requests from students who want to go to the restroom, the office, a locker, the clinic, or to call home, open a window, shut a window, sharpen pencils, charge a cell phone, and hear the directions just […]

Speak into the lives of others


When I was in the classroom, much of my favorite student writing came in response to an assignment I often ended the school year with in my English classes that dealt with two weighty ideas. Students first encountered thisclaim—“The thing about humans is that they are constantly comparing themselves to one another”—before moving on to […]

The Importance of Getting to Know Your Students


As a teacher, I try my best to grow and to learn. I read books about different areas of education, I attend school and district professional development, and try to collaborate with my colleagues to grow my practice. I have a confession to make, however. I don’t learn nearly as much about teaching and learning […]

“FLIPPED” Classroom Is All About The Relationships


Most educators who consider flipping develop angst beginning with the fear of making videos. The concerns typically center on the time necessary to make the videos, the technological skills to produce the videos or the where with all to put voice and/or face on public display. And of course there is the option to use […]

‘Contemplation’ Strikes Emotional Chords with Kids

head on desk

It’s 12:35 p.m. I’m picking up my 6th grade class from the cafeteria. You can cut the heat with a knife. The kids are sizzling. We walk upstairs. I’m waiting for something to happen. Two boys start shoving each other and refuse to “stay hit.” Two girls curse out their respective mothers, fathers, and grandfathers. […]