About Dan McConnell

Husband, father, and teacher. Hoping to earn full redemption through the written word and shaping the dangerous young minds of tomorrow.

When Your “Helicopter” Parent is a Teacher

I  am enough years into teaching to have experienced a few of those parents. You know the type I mean: near daily notes, frequent phone calls and messages, surprise visits at school, requests for some special treatment or accommodation for their child, and occasionally an offering of personal information you might wish had never been [...]

Testing Season: Prepare to be Accountable

It's testing season In New York, the state tests are here. Technically speaking the ELA tests have gone by already, other than make-ups that need to still happen. The math 3-8 exams are still to come, and in the tiny rural school system I teach in these tests are all taken seriously by the teachers. [...]

Failing our Poor Students: A Crisis of Morality and Character

Our schools aren't failing, we all are. When outcomes for our poorest students are the concern, education reform advocates like to point to"failing schools", but it's not just about schools. It isn't out-of-touch middle class parents, teachers and their unions, or civil rights organizations willing to challenge the “school choice” narrative. Those are only convenient scapegoats [...]

More Rural Schools Journal: The Sick Day

On a recent Thursday afternoon, I decide to take a sick day. I just called for a sub to cover my duties tomorrow. I'm taking a "sick day." My youngest, (of the three girls I have written so much about in the past) didn’t really want to go to school this morning, was clearly feeling [...]

Close Reading and Deep Thinking = “Textploration”

My focus in this piece will be on inspiring truly close reading and deeper thinking as a facet of ELA instruction. When a reader can go beyond recall; go beyond simple inference and analysis, and go spelunking deep into reflection on and evaluation of story characters and elements (while using the text to support their [...]