Latest posts from Houston

On February 12, 2013, founder and long time CEO of TFA, Wendy Kopp, stepped down.  Two new co-CEOs were appointed, Elisa Villanueva-Beard and Matt Kramer. Elisa was a 1998 corps member and Matt had never taught.  Both were working as very high administrative positions in TFA before this recent promotion. I was pretty surprised by…

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Dec 26 2013

some thoughts as of late

1. I think I want to be a CMA at Houston Institute. Not now. Eventually. Can I do this even if I still struggle with the philosophy behind some parts of Institute? Can I do this at all? Things to consider. 2. If I want to survive this upcoming semester/be a real person I need…

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So far I’ve written about two topics I feel contribute little to math education.  They don’t inspire students to want to learn more about math.  They are not topics that are ‘useful’ in real life or as a prerequisite to other ‘useful’ math.  Though I plan to do about ten parts to this series, you…

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Dec 25 2013

snapshot of a non-teacher life

The air is sticky, with salt from the Gulf of Mexico and the slightest hint of the smell of raw fish. There’s a sea breeze today – the kind that nestles deep in your bones – and some stray palm fronds float down to settle alongside the road. I drive and drive and drive. Past…

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The old math standards, say common core defenders, were “a mile wide and an inch deep.”  I’m inclined to agree with this.  Too many topics and too little time led to teachers having no choice but to teach many topics at a superficial level.  As time in a math class is a somewhat fixed quantity…

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Dec 21 2013

the end of semester one.

With that, my last day as a teacher in 2013 is over. I’ve given kids holiday cards and cleaned my room and supervised the cleaning of lockers and been the loving & grateful recipient of so. many. Christmas. cookies. Today was, like many of the “last days” in my own high school, wonderful. Calm and…

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Last month I wrote a post called ‘The Death of math’ which got a lot of attention as I described how I’d improve math teaching in this country by significantly reducing the number of topics taught and by making math optional after 8th grade.  A line that got quoted a lot when people tweeted about…

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2.6. The average number of years a teacher spends at my school. Most teachers stay either two or three years, and the ones who stay longer tend to move into administrative positions. There are the rockstars of course – the ones who are there for six or eight or ten years. But the majority come…

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I remember when I taught in Houston back in the early 1990s and felt it was a crime that my school did not offer any real computer programming course.  The best they had was something called ‘computer applications’ where students would spend the semester mastering things like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.  I felt that…

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Dec 11 2013

burnout

I knew this time would come, and now that it’s here, I just feel a little resigned to the long grind that is burnout. I’ve been talking about this a lot lately. Emotional labor. Constant stress/anxiety. High stakes all the time. No excuses. Ed reform is notorious for producing “burnout factories” and I feel like…

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