Latest posts from Rhode Island

Dec 31 2012

Vacation, grading, and a heart of wisdom

Vacations are tricky things. The “freedom” they profess to offer is illusory: the more time I spend upfront with family, books, hobbies, or sleep (i.e. regaining normal functionality), the greater the anxiety to utilize the rest of the break getting caught up with (or ahead on) school work. The end of a vacation usually sneaks…

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Dec 31 2012

Vacation, grading, and a heart of wisdom

Vacations are tricky things. The “freedom” they profess to offer is illusory: the more time I spend upfront with family, books, hobbies, or sleep (i.e. regaining normal functionality), the greater the anxiety to utilize the rest of the break getting caught up with (or ahead on) school work. The end of a vacation usually sneaks…

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Dec 24 2012

Work Hard. Be Nice. (a sort of review)

Work Hard. Be Nice. brands itself as the story of “how two inspired teachers created the most promising schools in America.” Education-savvy readers will, of course, recognize the title as the trademark slogan of the Knowledge Is Power Program, better known as KIPP, which (according to Wikipedia) is the largest network of charter schools in the…

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Dec 20 2012

Skate shops and revelation

Today was the last school day of 2012. I do plan to reflect critically on the first semester sometime over the break, but for now I just want to record two stories from yesterday. ————— MS transferred to my school this year as a sophomore—though he’s supposed to be a junior—and I have him in…

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Dec 19 2012

Give them their wings

Here’s a video for all teachers in need of inspiration as 2012 draws to a close. It’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful spoken word piece written by a TFA alum to highlight and contextualize the work of 12+, a non-profit that aims to make college accessible to students in inner-city Philadelphia. Also, if you like what they’re doing,…

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Dec 13 2012

An early Christmas miracle

T was one of my top students last year, and I am currently his mentor for a senior research paper. I recently found out that he spent much of his childhood in a Nepalese refugee camp, where he had no formal education and worked in a rat-infested restaurant to support himself. The following interaction took…

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Last year, the last period of every other day was small, and the students were mature, self-motivated, academically successful 12th graders. (Yes, I got very lucky with that class.) This year, my last period of the day is still small, but that’s where the similarities end. The students should be in 11th grade, but most…

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Nov 07 2012

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

I have long been meaning to write about the difference between first and second year, but nothing I have written seems to do it justice. Even now, I have trouble describing it in anything but metaphor: night and day, storm and sunshine, even death and life. Yet I must try my best to assure any first-year teachers…

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Oct 06 2012

The Things They Say

Sometimes, you just can’t make this stuff up. Today, we talked about carbon-14 dating and radioactive isotopes. I said that it was how we figured out how old dinosaur bones are. “What if a lion does it with a rhino? Would their baby be a dinosaur?” “Miss, how old are the dinosaurs? How old is…

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Oct 04 2012

Discoveries

Today, I discovered: One of my Algebra 1 kids is a Billboard-ranked pop artist. Another one of my Algebra 1 kids was kicked off public transit this morning for “talking too loud.” According to an eyewitness, the lady who complained about him was talking just as loudly, if not louder. (Said kid was also not…

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