We have three weeks left of school. I started the year by writing a letter to my students, and I will end the year with a letter, too. A draft of a poem came to me the other night and I typed it up this morning. It will likely go through more editing before I give it to them, but I'm sharing it's current state here, for memory's sake or for anyone who wants or needs to be reminded about 6th grade moments.
Dear 6th graders, soon-to-be 7th graders,
This has been a long and challenging year. My dad died, I started at a new school, woke up way too early every day and had more students than I’ve ever had before. I’m figuring out a curriculum that’s not always my favorite, tryi...
About a year ago I taught unit on language and power with 7th and 8th graders that felt like a risk, but the students stepped up to the challenge wonderfully. I found this essay recently that articulates what I was working towards in that unit. This essay directly addresses the needs of English Language Learners, but I think the critical skills should be shared with all learners, as well as the responsibility of using them to reshape our educational spaces. This type of language fluidity and hybridization is also already a natural part of young people's lives, so I think they are equipped and ready to run with it.
This post has been lingering in draft form since maybe November of last year. I fussed with it here and there, so there may be time shifts below. It started out just as a title placeholder: "new old teacher." I kept thinking I might split it into two posts, not sure it all gels, but I'm just gonna go with what's here.
Britt Hawthorne did an instagram live back in January in response to online chatter
on White saviorism in education. (Follow her and support her work! There is always good discussion happening. You can also support her on Patreon and she shares great resources there, too.) It was a great conversation and connected the dots between things that have felt "off" to me in...
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I read a good helping of this book sitting in a bookstore in Chicago last fall, but finally checked it out from the library so I can read the rest. Nicholson Baker is a writer who worked as a substitute teacher in Maine for 28 days to investigate some of his hunches about schools. I find his observations painfully funny and real. I also came into teaching by way of subbing and so his anthropological gaze feels familiar, but he also captures amazing verbatim kid and teacher dialogue, the strange flows of subjects and activities, and the long, slow march that 7 hours of school can be so well. It is sad in a lot of ways, but I also find it edifying to know that I am not the only one feeling,...