Early in my teaching career, I took a Spanish-teaching class at the University of Arizona. In order to fill out an application for employment, I had to have one of my professors give me a letter of recommendation. I learned a few things from making this request: First, if I want a good recommendation, I need to provide a template -- something I have already written so they can just sign it -- and, second, be prepared to answer a few hard questions.
I'm pretty disappointed in Barack Obama's selection of Arne Duncan for U.S. secretary of education. Devastated, to be honest. I don't get it -- a secretary of education who has never been a teacher? Who has never taught a single course? Who never attended a public school? Who doesn't send his own children to a public school?
In an earlier post, I wrote about the importance of being a constant learner, of never stopping. Recently, I have been reflecting on an important step in becoming a lifelong learner -- the opportunity to spend time with a committed learner.
Evidence-based research has convinced Lydia Trinidad, principal at Hawaii's Kualapu'u Elementary School, that in addition to concentrating on meeting the mandates of No Child Left Behind, she has to promote health awareness in her students and teach them that physical activity and proper nutrition are as important as academics.
Perhaps it's the result of having just turned fifty. It may be owing to the fact that I am a fairly new dad. Whatever the reason, the textual world our young people occupy today seems to be much more complex and more highly constructed than when I was entering my own teenage years.
I'm certainly not the first to observe that the term literacy has new meaning for our students -- a meaning that calls both educators and parents to carefully consider all the places where our children need help "reading and writing the world."
While in California last week for a meeting, I hiked the hills above Novato, a town north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a clear day, and the afternoon sun warmed the west-facing slopes. I followed a dirt road that had been carved out of the hills. An ardent observer of nature, I quickly clued in to the fact that there were a large number of lizards around.
This is the second part of a six-part entry. Start with the introduction.
"They come into my room shouting, wandering around, and talking to one another. During class, they put on makeup, text message one another, and talk over me. And they jump up to sharpen pencils when I'm in the middle of teaching."