I knew I wanted to get to know my students. I wanted to hear about their lives, look through their eyes, experience the sounds of their world, and survey their emotional landscapes. I also knew I needed to do this in order to be a more effective teacher: I could tailor instruction to draw...Read More.
If I could, I'd lay money on the claim I'm about to make: If you do the one little thing I'm about to suggest, you will have a great school year. Here it is:Read More.
When I first started teaching and was overwhelmed by the demands and complexity of the job, my survival strategy was simply to take all the advice that came my way and implement it. So when my wise mentor suggested that after the first day of school I call all of my second grader's parents, I...Read More.
A student I taught 12 years ago (when she was in the sixth grade) emailed me recently sharing that in the fall, she will become a middle school English teacher. "That was the best year of school for me," she said, "I just want to help other kids have an experience like that." I was thrilled;...Read More.
When people ask me if I'm taking some time off while school is out, I respond, "a little," being intentionally vague. I'm embarrassed, actually, that I'm taking so few days off this summer (a total of eight, really).
"It's my choice," I add. "This is self-imposed." But is it, I wonder...Read More.
On June 12, Anne Frank could have celebrated her 83rd birthday had she not died in a Nazi concentration camp. It's not a stretch to imagine that she would have been surrounded by loved ones, celebrated for her literary contributions, and acknowledged for her compassion and contributions to peace...Read More.
Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Does your school have a mission or a vision? Does it mean something and inform decision-making? Or is it just something posted on some wall/paper/handbook that you vaguely remember? Do you have a vision for yourself as...Read More.
One of my favorite summer activities is reading -- I relish those long afternoons (and mornings and evenings) on the couch (or beach or bed) when I lose myself in a book. I remember vacations by what I read; travels get surreal overtones because of the confusion with the interweaving of...Read More.
My former student, Brenda, graduated with a BA in psychology from Mills College, in Oakland, just a few days ago. Brenda was eight when I met her; she was a third grader in my class in an overcrowded, underfunded school in deep east Oakland. She was sweet and bright and we connected.Read More.
I work as a Transformational Leadership Coach in the Oakland Public Schools. I coach individuals, schools, and the educational system towards transformation. But what is transformation? Is it possible to coach to something I can't define? I know that what we have now is not working for the...Read More.