Elena Aguilar

Blog Posts

Tags Teacher Leadership
July 12, 2011

I am writing this post from the mountains of northern Thailand, ten days into a four-week adventure with my seven-year-old son and husband. This is the first serious travel we've done with our son -- the first time in a country where we don't speak the language, don't have family, and don't...

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Tags New-Teacher Support
June 22, 2011

At the end of a school year, there are so many measurements which could indicate that a teacher was "effective" -- graduation rates, grades, test scores -- quantifiable and ostensibly objective. Whether a teacher was effective must definitely be measured by how much his/her students' learning...

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Tags New-Teacher Support
June 9, 2011

When I taught, one way that I made it through the last few weeks of school was by thinking about the following year -- what I'd do differently, curriculum I wanted to try out, field trips I would take my kids on. And as I took down the things on my walls, I contemplated how I'd decorate for the...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
May 20, 2011

My last post was also about instructional coaching and I started it off by stating that in order for instructional coaching to work, the conditions must be right. A reader asked, in the comments, what exactly are those ...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
May 11, 2011

Instructional coaching works, or rather, it can work when conditions are right. Perhaps because some principals and district leaders have seen the impact that an effective coach can have, a handful of coaching positions still exist in this era of extreme budget cuts.

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Tags Teacher Leadership
May 2, 2011

For decades, my grandmother boycotted Mother's Day. "Mothers should be appreciated every day!" she'd argue. By the time she was in her sixties, she surrendered, figuring she might as well be doted on once a year.

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Tags Teacher Leadership
April 6, 2011

Margaret Wheatley, a brilliant thinker and organizer, writes: "I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again: simple, honest, human conversation, and not mediation, negotiation, problem solving, debate, or public meetings. Truthful conversation where we each have...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
March 22, 2011

In some of the elementary schools in the district I work in, teachers are strongly encouraged to display the results of student tests (such as reading fluency or interim "benchmark" assessments) in the classroom. Each child's score is identified -- a name next to a number, visible to all...

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Tags Student Engagement
March 8, 2011

Some years ago I taught a life skills class to a group of eighth grade boys. The curriculum I offered wasn't working. They were disengaged -- they wouldn't read, write, or talk about what I wanted them to talk about -- and they were mounting a rebellion.

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Tags Student Engagement
February 18, 2011

In a recent post, I shared a strategy for developing writing fluency in students. One comment asked about grades for journal writing, suggesting that if students don't receive a grade they won't be motivated to write.

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Equity, transformation, social justice, leadership, coaching, listening, mindfulness.