kids these days

I have heard that the current generation is selfish and shallow, that they are the iGeneration, that they focus on MySpace, but rarely think about OurSpace. Students meet together, but they do not entirely connect. It seems that share a physical proximity, but each sends texts, listens to iPods and lives within a self-centered cocoon. […]

lessons from a horse whisperer

On NPR today, I listened to a story about a horse whisperer. He described the way he began as a horse trainer. He used two-by-fours in order to “break the will” of the horse. Often, the success seemed immediate, but a few horses would refuse to conform. One ran away. Another nearly killed him. Still, […]

should teachers be more confusing?

I love how Socrates always ends his dialogues unanswered. The end seems to be a multifacted mystery rather than a three-point outline. Similarly, throughout the gospels, Jesus tells parables that confound and confuse his audience. It seems counterintuitive that two of the greatest teachers of all times were both difficult to understand. As a teacher, […]

why I’d like to make the next Camden Yards

When I was a kid, I went through a phase of designing baseball stadiums. It was at the time that they built the new Comiskey Park and I felt like it was an injustice to the old. When other kids had idealistic dreams of playing first base for the Giants, I had dreams of designing […]

Assessment: Assessing As We Go

When I first heard the term “assessment,” I imagined rows of students silently taking a quiz.  To me, it was the unfortunate side effect of real teaching.  I asked a professor how often I should assess and she answered, “Every day.”  “So you want me to have kids take quizzes every day?” I asked. “No, […]

changing professional development

For me, the term “professional development” conjures up images of sitting in a stale library, watching PowerPoint slides as I perfect the art of cartoon-making. I hate spending an hour and a half every week listening to things that feel irrelevant to my vocation as a teacher. With that in mind, I approached my principal […]

what Charlie Brown taught me about teaching

Sometimes on a rough day, when I’m feeling more insecure than usual, I play a little game. It’s so subtly manipulative that it seems benevolent. Unlike the more obvious put-downs or the fishing for compliments, I almost subconciously try and build a mini-monument to myself. We’re in the classroom painting the mural and when we […]